Relationship Capital Investment Can Create Greater Interest

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A few days ago, I got a message on LinkedIn from a guy named Daniel. He said, “Hey, I just flew back into Chicago and I read your book and I loved it and I want to take you out to lunch to thank you for all the great insights.”

I said to him, “I really appreciate it, but my plate is full, literally and figuratively, and I don’t have time for lunch, but I’m always open for a phone call.” So we did and he literally just wanted to thank me for the book, which is cool. It was nice but he said something in the middle of the call, because he was kind of echoing some of the things from the book, that got me thinking. He said, “You know, relationships are kind of like banks.” He said, “You’ve got to put something into it in order to take something out. You just can’t take stuff out.”

You can, it’s called a loan. Right? But unfortunately that’s the way that a lot of people treat marketing, they just want people to basically hand them money. So today I want to talk about how using relationship capital can create greater interest. Just like writing a book provided capital that helped me build a relationship.

(I think Daniel has seen me speak a few times locally). But anyways, it was really nice.

Take It To The Bank

Now you may or may not know, but my wife works in a bank and she loves her job because she gets to help a bunch of old people with their money and some young people, too. But she especially likes the senior citizens because she loves spending time with them, hearing their stories and getting to know them. So she invests in them and then obviously they invest in her. They put a lot of money into the bank and then they take it out when they need it.

But one of the things about banking is you can’t just go to a bank anymore and open up an account. Ever since 9/11, there’s a thing called the Patriot Act, which means that you have to fill out paperwork and prove you’re US citizen and they have to know where the money’s coming from and all that stuff.

Also, she’s there to prevent scams. There are people that will come in and deposit a check and then they’ll go to another bank and try to withdraw it. By depositing in one branch and then withdrawing from another, a lot of the times they can circumvent the system and use a check with no money in it to get money out of the bank. That’s illegal. I would not try that at home, but you have to think about how banking works and I think relationships are very similar to this, especially like Daniel said.

You Have To Deposit… To Take Withdrawals

The bottom line is this savings account pays you interest, right? You put money in and then you get a return on that investment. Now you can always use a credit card. But, with a credit card, you’re paying interest to use their money. That’s how banks make money – you put money in, they loan your money out, and they charge a fee for people to borrow the money, and then they give you a portion of that back. That’s essentially how a bank works, and I like to think of social media and social networking as just that.

Think of social media as using a credit card. You pay for advertising. Think of social networking as depositing money into a savings account, and that’s exactly what Daniel did. He reached out and built a relationship based on his feedback on my book. Now we have to think about how we deposit into that relationship bank.

Here are three suggestions that I want to give you.

Invest Time

The first one is spend as much time on people as you do opening posts. Let’s say that you spend 10 minutes opening posts or creating posts or those kinds of things. Take that same amount of time and spend it on people. Find people that you want to engage with and maybe do like Daniel did – reach out and say thank you. Sometimes that’s all it takes. So if you’re spending 10 minutes reading posts and posting your own stuff, spend 10 minutes engaging with people. Now engagement is a variable thing. A lot of people think liking something is engagement and it is, but there’s a big difference between a like and a comment. A comment actually takes longer, it takes more thought and it’s a lot more personal. Just like Daniel reached out on LinkedIn with a message.

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What you could do and what I do every single day is I wish people happy birthday. That just keeps me top of mind. Now on my birthday – which is January 11th if you’re thinking of sending gifts, I have a lot of bacon stuff by the way – I take that entire day off and I go to every single post where somebody wished me a happy birthday and I go back and say, “Thank you, Daniel,” or, “I really appreciate it, Cindy,” or whoever. I make sure they know that it’s personalized back to them and not just a copy and paste. That way they understand I’m listening and it builds the relationship. Is it worth it? Absolutely, because when I wish them a happy birthday, more often than not, they’ll reciprocate. Say, “Thanks Brian.”

Deposit To Withdraw

The second thing you have to do is you have to deposit before you can withdraw. One of the things that people do on social media a lot is connect and pitch. In other words, they connect immediately, go for the juggler and say, “Hey, you don’t know me but I’ve got the greatest thing since sliced bread.” That’s not depositing, that’s using a credit card.

What you have to do is make sure that you’re doing a personalized message with no expectations. So when you connect with somebody, say, “Hey, I know you through so-and-so and I just wanted to say hi.” Don’t sell them anything. Spend some time getting to know them, spend some time reading their material, give them some positive messages, give them some feedback and build that relationship. When you message people, you begin to earn their interest – and that brings us to the next thing.

Trust IS Your Interest

Trust is the interest in your efforts. If you think about advertising, it takes about seven views or seven touches before somebody starts to gain interest in what you’re saying or your messages or your material. The same is true in social media and online marketing.

Now, if you get a 1% return on your investment by putting something into a savings account, it doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but over time, depending on how much you put in, it can grow and that’s essentially what we get. If you think about advertising, we usually only get a 1-2% return on investment. When you send out an email, your email open rate is maybe 10% or 20% or 30% but usually the click through rates are around 1% or 2%. So that’s pretty average. But the bottom line is small incremental growth will make a big return on investment over time. A lot of people in marketing circles say, “Go big or go home”, right? Put everything on red on the roulette table and play your hand. But the bottom line is high risk means high reward, but it also means you have a higher chance of losing everything.

So by going in and talking to somebody and saying, “Hey, buy my stuff,” the chances of them paying attention to anything in the future diminishes really quickly.

I want to give you one last thought about this.

Real Engagement

There’s a lot of talk about getting engagement on a website. All right. I do website reports using Google Analytics. Now a lot of people say, “Hey, look at the amount of traffic that you got.” There was one particular client I was doing a report for and what I went in and looked at was the amount of time people were spending and how much engagement they had.

Engagement is measured in time spent on a website, how many pages were visited, and how much time was spent on each page. The vast majority of hits they had on their website, 2,500 hits, were 10 seconds or less. Now, people can’t do a whole lot in 10 seconds other than maybe make a first impression or be a robot and just kind of scan a page. But the ones that really matter are the 375 people that spent 30 seconds to 600 seconds, which is half a minute to 10 minutes. That’s where they get the biggest difference because those are people who are paying attention to their content, engaging with and consuming the content they’re putting out there, and they’re getting the best return on investment with that.

Final Thoughts

As Danial said… “You have to make a deposit in order to take a a withdrawal” (give THEN take). I don’t know about you, but it only takes a little positive interest to grow my business. I am not selling $10 widgets, I am selling trust and long term relationships that reap dividends for both the client and myself. Invest wisely and take time to let the interest compound… and you will reap the rewards for years to come!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?