How the Big Boys do Relationship Marketing

Nicole M. Bandes
 


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Is relationship marketing strictly a tactic used by small businesses? Do you think that relationship marketing is used when companies don’t have a lot of money to put into advertising? Think again.

Walmart is one of the largest corporations in the world yet this company still uses relationship marketing. When was the last time you walked into a Walmart? Do you remember the person that greeted you at the door? These senior citizens are called, accurately enough, greeters.

The job of the Walmart greeter is to create a more friendly and personalized experience for the Walmart shopper. The greeter will say hello when you enter the store, provide you with a shopping cart if needed, add a little smiley sticker to any children that may have accompanied you and even say good bye as you leave the store with your cart full of goodies. This is Walmart’s way of letting their customers know they appreciate them. It’s relationship marketing. If you are a frequent Walmart shopper, the greeters may even learn your name and address you appropriately each time you come to their store.

Other retail establishments are also now offering greeters of a sort. Restaurants have their hosts/hostesses, hotels often have a greeter, even health clubs make sure to say hello and offer you a towel when you enter. All of these places learn your name and use it when you have become a good customer. Have you ever had the opportunity to have dinner in a country club with a regular member? The entire staff knows who they are, what their favorite meal is and what they like to drink.

What this all comes down to is how these businesses are showing their customers they are appreciated. This process builds loyalty and loyalty brings many benefits.

So how can you create a relationship marketing program if you don’t have a walk in business?

Consider ways you would like to say thank you. Don’t think about ways you can increase your business. It isn’t about that. Walmart doesn’t get customers to buy more by having a greeter at the door, they just say thanks! Think about ways you can tell your customers or clients that you really do appreciate their loyalty or purchase.

Here are some do’s and don’ts.

  • Do send thank you notes or cards immediately upon purchase.

  • Don’t include a discount coupon.

  • Do send random thank you cards or holiday appreciation cards.

  • Don’t tell them about your latest sale or special (at least not in this campaign).

  • Do offer them gifts for referrals.

  • Do make phone calls thanking customers for their business.

  • Do find other ways to refer other businesses when your company can’t meet their specific needs. While this may seem counter productive, a customer will come back and refer more business to you when they feel you have their best interest in mind.

  • Do get to know your customers. Take notes if need be to remind you about birthdays or special events. Keep track of their personal interests and listen to their personal stories. They will look on you as a friend, rather than as a necessary evil.

    Relationship marketing is probably the least expensive way to market your business. It will take time and requires more from you on a personal level but the rewards will be well worth it.

    Are you ready to start building relationships with your customers, family members and friends? Would you like to know how you can do this easily by sending greeting cards directly from your computer? Nicole Bandes is now offering a unique tool to save time and money while building valuable relationships. Try it for free by visiting http://www.ilovesendoutcards.com to learn more about relationship marketing using greeting cards.

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