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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Relationship Marketing - A Team Effort

Relationship Marketing: It’s A Team Effort

By Terry L. Brock

Relationship Marketing is vital for business success. We long ago passed the era of the “derby hat and cigar puffing used car salesman” type of mentality. Today’s buyers want someone they can trust, rely on and have confidence in to build a relationship and do business.

Due to the fast-changing nature of today’s world with technology we also need relationship marketing for our team. You really need to “sell” yourself to your team to have them part of your marketing. Establishing, building and maintaining quality, profitable relationships goes beyond customers. It relates to the entire team around you.

Steve Epner is a business consultant in St. Louis who shared with me the idea that goes beyond the “supply chain.” When you think of a chain, we all know that it is only as strong as its weakest link. In a supply chain, if one component breaks down, the rest of the chain suffers. If a manufacturer can’t deliver quality products by a given date, the wholesaler suffers, the distributor suffers, the retailer suffers and the end user suffers. All parts of that supply chain break down when one element runs into problems.

Epner’s revolutionary, and highly appropriate for 21st Century business success idea is one of a “Supply Team.” Think of a basketball team. If one member is off that day, the rest of the team can “run cover” to help bring him back up to speed. The rest of the team can see what is happening, what can be done to restore the team member to full functionality and make the whole team better.

This concept of the “Supply Team” is ideal for any business. You can’t do it alone. As we often say in technology, “None of us is a smart as all of us.” No, you really can’t do it alone. Each team member does best when others are there to help them grow. When such a situation exists, each team member grows individually and can achieve his or her personal best.

This is the irony of human condition. We all are individuals and by nature focus on our own needs. We only breath for ourselves. We only sleep for ourselves. We live in our own world in our head thinking of our individual needs continually. Yet, success in life only comes when you get outside of your own needs and focus on the needs of others. Zig Ziglar is often quoted as saying, “You can get anything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. “ These others are customers, of course. But the concept of helping others --- relationship marketing --- extends to your Supply Team.

A few years ago, American Express asked me to fly to New York to interview Earvin “Magic” Johnson as they were launching a new card. You probably know Magic Johnson from his success in basketball. During the time I met him and interviewed him in front of the cameras and the crowd, I was able to see insights into this man that aren’t often seen by the public. Yes, he has done well in basketball, but I think of Magic Johnson as a great businessman and very wise gentleman. He told me in the interview that your success really depends on your team.

As he related to me, he said he played with Kareem Abdul Jabar, James Worthy and others. He stressed to me the importance of assembling a strong team around you. He concluded by saying, “If you don’t you will fail in this whole business.”

You and I have to assemble a team around us. This doesn’t necessarily mean employees. I’ve found many successful people today work with a team of contractors from many countries. Yes, we leverage technologies like Skype (multi-chat, video, audio, etc.) to facilitate this. Those that don’t know about and resist new technologies fall way behind those who embrace the right technologies.

Timothy Ferriss has a new book called “The 4-Hour Workweek” which I highly recommend. In that book he discusses the importance of outsourcing whatever you can so that you focus on doing those things you do best. The legendary management guru Peter Drucker shared that same concept with us years ago. Do what you do best and, outsource the rest. Thomas Friedman’s excellent book, The World is Flat, does a remarkable job discussing the benefits of outsourcing and how to make it work for you.

I’m outsourcing many tasks around the world and leveraging technologies like Skype to get it done (just keep on eye on to know what time it is wherever you’re calling!).

Assemble your Supply Team from the best available around the world. Relationship Marketing is about serving customers, both internal and external. Let your Supply Team know your philosophies about doing business, how to treat people so they have both a profitable and enjoyable experience and what both business and life are about. Leverage technology like crazy! Keep an eye out for new, emerging trends that help you serve your Supply Team.

Relationship Marketing is an on-going and wonderful way to do business. It always has been and today, thanks to technology, we can do it better than ever.

Terry Brock is an international marketing coach and columnist who helps businesses market more effectively, leveraging technology. He shows busy professionals how to squeeze more out of their days using time-honored rules and practical technology tools. He can be reached at 407-363-0505, by e-mail at or through his website at

Copyright © 2007, Terry Brock, All Rights Reserved Internationally. No portion may be reprinted or used in any way without prior written permission