Establishing A Relationship…And “Cultivating” It. Big Difference!
Last post we heard from a great young entrepreneur, Group Story Co-Founder, Geoff Hamrick, regarding a question he had that came down to “time vs. price.” As part of our subsequent email exchange, we discovered another great question.
This had to do with the fact that – at trade shows – he and his business partner, George Junginger, would often meet the prospects they desired to meet but it didn’t seem to go any further. As we’ll see, there is a very good reason for this.
“When demonstrating our product for them at our booth, they love it and ask us to follow-up. We do, but the conversion rate is low. We do our best to establish relationships at these events. George and I are both outgoing, but they meet hundreds of people in a short time span so it becomes ‘out of sight out of mind’ and they are then ‘too busy’ to implement. Even though the reality is it doesn’t take much on their end to put this in place, and we are providing them a cutting edge product that is a perfect fit for preserving group memories.”
Geoff, I’m pretty sure I see a big part of the problem. Yes, you “establish” relationships at these events, but that – in and of itself – counts close to nothing. You are right; out of sight – out of mind. And, there is no relationship.
Your job is not just to establish the relationship, but to “cultivate” the relationship. You do that by sending a personalized, handwritten note to the person afterwards (not an email, a personalized handwritten note) and finding ways to gently communicate value to the relationship in an ongoing, non-obtrusive manner.
Again, only after they know, like and trust you are they going to take the time to REALLY learn about the product and implement something that they previously knew nothing (or very little) about.
Geoff, on a personal note, I so admire you putting yourself out there to go after the business. You obviously have a passion for what you do and for the value you offer others. I also admire you for being anxious enough to learn that you will ask questions. I have a feeling you and George are going to go far in the business world. Best wishes for great success!