Nurture your clients and prospectsLove is in the air. Valentine’s Day is coming up on Friday and for us folks in Ontario, Canada, it’s also the Family Day long weekend. From romantic dinners to cozy, cheerful family hangouts, that’s what is on the cards for many of us. I’m not one for the mushy stuff, but what matters most to me is a feeling of being comfortable with loved ones. That comfort comes from trust, mutual respect, care, and just a nice peaceful feeling in each other’s presence. Sure I’ll go along with the occasional candlelit dinners, roses, chocolates and wine, but what I much prefer is the everyday experience of a relationship that is warm and comfortable.

In our world of B2B marketing, we are often swept up by the fervor to woo and delight our customers. You need that inspiration, there’s no denying it. What must follow, however, is a consistent effort to nurture our prospects and make them feel comfortable. To my mind, the 5 essential ingredients of B2B relationship marketing are not different from the ones you find in a relationship of love:

  1. Trust
  2. Respect
  3. Care
  4. Comfort
  5. Inspiration

Let’s examine these more closely.

Infuse Your B2B Relationships with These 5 Key Ingredients…Watch the Love Grow!

  1. TRUST. Just like you can’t get too close to a loved one until there is a certain, strong level of trust established, you can’t dress up a B2B relationship in roses and wine until you have first earned a good measure of trust. The way to do that is to show that you are genuinely interested in providing your audience with worthwhile benefits. That’s when they will start to trust you.
  2. RESPECT. You may or may not become successful at earning the respect of your prospective customers, but you will definitely not succeed until you first show clearly that you respect them—their needs, their business goals and their motivations. Too often, we get caught up in trying to show buyers how great we are that we forget to laud them for who they are.
  3. CARE. What happens when you really work those quality leads—feed them valuable information, help them understand what’s going on their market, show them ways to resolve daily challenges, and then… they decide not to buy from you. Will you still care for them? Or will they get dropped from “hot lead” into the cold waters and sink into oblivion off your radar? In 9 out of 10 cases, B2B marketers will stop caring for a prospect that is engaged but just won’t buy. We don’t really care to find out their readiness to buy in the first place, and then we get disappointed. It’s like feeling rejected because your long-standing date decides she is not ready to tie the knot and wear your ring—so you stop caring for her? Fickle love!
  4. Comfort. Buyers do their own research, tons of it in fact. Give them useful information to aid their efforts and they will respect you for it. But get in their face all the time, shout out loud on social media and other channels and you will diminish any sense of comfort there might have been in that relationship. Buyers or lovers, it doesn’t matter, they are all people. Nobody likes to be pushed into a commitment. It must happen at an easy, comfortable pace. And if that pace turns rapid because your buyer is really ready and can’t wait to buy your product, well then, get ready for that kiss!
  5. Inspiration. Whether or not we admit it years into a relationship, we have all admired and felt inspired by a loved one at some stage. A brand must inspire a potential buyer to find out more. The inspiration doesn’t always have to come from what the product or service is capable of doing. As a matter of fact, it can be something completely unrelated. It could be a charitable project or community outreach program that your organization is involved with; that may inspire your buyers to want to know more about your company. It may be a student benefit program you run for employees’ children, an awareness campaign to spread the word about harmful effects of smoking, or anything else that makes your world of B2B buyers sit up and take notice. When the attention you get comes from a position of feeling inspired, feeling attracted, feeling respectful, feeling comfortable and wanting to trust you, you’ve got a whole lot of love on your plate :)

What are some ways in which you nurture and feed your B2B relationships? How do you make every customer experience one of delight? For more ideas and to share your thoughts, please share your comments.