One of the most effective ways to win in sales and marketing is to grow and strengthen your existing relationships to the point where you have created what Bob Burg refers to as an “Army of Ambassadors”. You might be worried about whether this is appropriate during a pandemic. Not only do I believe it’s totally appropriate, I believe if done correctly it will be welcomed with open arms and appreciated by your growing network of ambassadors. The big question is “how?”
My dad, who doubles as my mentor, Gary Pines, uses the acronym RAISE when talking about how to grow and further deepen relationships. He believes, and I agree, if we can Refer, Advise, Inform, Support and Employ, we will grow deeper, more meaningful relationships which will help us and our network win more. Below I will define the acronym and the questions to ask to RAISE your relationships…even during this time in history.
Refer solutions to your network or be able to use your contact as a solution for other customers and COI’s (Centers of Influence). Pose the question: “If I am talking with a friend, what question should I ask them to find out if they would be a good lead for you?” We are all talking, zooming (is that a verb now?), and facetiming more than we have ever before, which means there are more opportunities to ask our friends the “good leads” question.
Advise your network when appropriate. You do not need to be a know it all, but we can be very valuable to our contacts by sharing articles, success stories and the knowledge we are gaining in the ever-changing business world. How do we know what they would perceive as valuable? Ask them what interests them and where they are trying to gain knowledge. Be intentional about what you are sharing and verify your source is a premium publisher* (a trusted, reputable, professional publisher such as the Wall Street Journal, ESPN, ABC News, etc. Be careful when finding articles on social media and double check to make sure they fall under the premium category).
Inform your network of the status of your business if they have shown interest. Many customers are interested in businesses where they make purchases, so keep them informed. Make sure they understand the WIFM** (the phrase that is always top of mind for your contacts – What’s In It For Me). If you have a relevant success story and/or case study within the last five weeks, ask if they would like to hear about them. People are most often interested in hearing stories with a takeaway that is relevant to them (WIFM).
Support your network’s civic endeavors. Find out what they are involved in, why they are involved in it, and how you can help. While this is probably the easiest part of RAISE, it is also the part that is done the least often. Non-profits and causes are being hit hard today, and if you are talking to someone who is passionate about a cause, they will appreciate your genuine offer.
Employ. Recently, one of the biggest challenges companies faced was finding and keeping the right employees. If you can help your network solve some of their employment challenges, you will grow your relationship immeasurably. Unfortunately, this is not as relevant today. Now that unemployment has skyrocketed, the challenges and needs of businesses has changed but you should still ask questions about employment within their company. Additionally, use this as an opportunity to reach out to all those people within your network who have been laid off or furloughed. You might not be able to help them get a job today, but you can see how they are doing and may be able to help in the future. You will also be adding them to your Army of Ambassadors as I’m sure there are not as many people reaching out to them as there were on March 10th. Remember, employ isn’t restricted to your network, but your network’s network, and more importantly, your network’s family.
Before your virtual meetings this week, think about RAISE and figure out the questions you need to ask your network that will help you RAISE your relationships. If you spend this time using the above tactics, you will be able to come out of this with a growing Army of Ambassadors that will help you in any economy.