Return on Relationships

Business, Partners, relationships

Relationships are all about building bonds which are generally based on trust. Once people start trust you, they also open up and share things with you. As the trust grows, the bonds grow stronger and people start wanting you to also succeed.

Return on relationships is a concept I learned from Dean Jackson. He’s one of the most fundamentally sound people and can cut through the problems and reach the core reason extremely quickly. You can listen to his podcasts on or Cloudlandia or He talks about return on relationships from the vantage point of how many customers come back to you for more and refer other customers to you.

My concept of partnerships or “riding the elephant” are all about relationships at the core. Nothing in business moves if you don’t build relationships. How good your relationships are is measured by the fact if you get a lot of your business with repeat customers or you get referred a lot to different people.

There used to be a saying – its not what you know but who you know that is important. There has to be an extension to that statement – its not what you know but who you know, who is willing to refer you, that is important.

So you may have a lot of connections on social media platforms like Linkedin, but if they are not willing to refer you, then they are unimportant. The onus of getting people to refer you is your responsibility so that you program them to think about you when they come across something in which you excel. Getting referrals on a consistent basis is the best way to get business, because you don’t have to invest your time in convincing people to look at you.

Have a look at how much of your revenues are happening because of business coming in from the cold versus repeat customers and customers that have been referred. The lower the first part the more profitable your business.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Force multiplier effect of Riding the Elephant

Affirmative action, life time value, Marketing, Marketing Stamina, Networking, Partners, relationships, Riding the elephant

While I keep writing about this concept, I am amazed myself by the amount of benefits that “riding the elephant” can have for you, if you nurture the elephant well. The elephant is very loyal and friendly creature if you take care of it and feed it with bananas. But if angered it also tends to go o a rampage and destroy things.

So if you nurture the elephant then while you can take 5 small steps, it can take one large one, so if you are riding it, you can cover a larger distance through the forest versus on foot. Also other wild animals won’t attack you when you riding the elephant.

Some of this is also true with hitching your bandwagon with a large partner (like an OEM) your market reach expands at an amazing speed. These large companies have massive growth agendas so they have big plans to execute and go out in the market. Once they start trusting you they will also take you along with them. You will need to do networking within these companies. Being large it is difficult to navigate through the matrix structure, but if you are determined, and take affirmative action you will be able to find your way. It may take time, so you need to have marketing stamina to last in the market.

As a small company you may not have the bandwidth to fund that kind of a growth, but with the help of the partner you can actually get the volume of business to fund your growth.

There’s once challenge though. Since the partner wants to grow rapidly they will expect you to comply with their demands in terms of the margins you make. These situations you have to manage delicately. What can help is knowing the life time value of a customer. So you know how you will make money from the customer in the long term.

If you know how to manage relationships, this is one of the best ways to grow your business.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Serendipity – 2

Partners, Serendipity

A few months back towards end of January I had written a post on serendipity. Serendipity is defined as events which happen by chance in a happy or beneficial way , where you had not sought for or expected anything even remotely similar to what has happened.

I tend to think of serendipity also in parallel to chance and luck though they are technically different as per the literal meanings.

However I tend to believe that a lot of serendipity, chance or luck happens because you are “doing” things to get some result and then something totally unrelated happens and takes you in totally different direction which is even more beneficial. Most people – especially the “filmy” kind use this term with respect to romance. But I tend to see it happen so often in business that it ends up creating a completely new and beneficial set of opportunities.

I keep talking about seeking partnerships to help you build your go to market strategy in a low cost and high speed way. Last year we had done an event with a industry body in India. This event was targeted at the members of the industry body where we were seeking partnerships to go into that industry. We happened to put out the video we had created onto YouTube after the event.

Now see the sequence of serendipitous events which took place over the next 8-10 months.

One sales person of an OEM happened to see that video and connected to me via Linkedin and then contacted me. This conversation led us to build an application on top of the OEMs platform , which they were so amazed that they started giving us support to work further. Now this sales person also connected us to one of his other colleagues who asked us a question regarding the capabilities we had on another product of this OEM. At that point in time we had only a sketchy knowledge but because this sales person and the earlier one had suggested we invested in this new product and built a prototype from scratch.

Suddenly when we showed this prototype, all of a sudden there was “domino effect” or a “tipping point” such that not only was this OEM’s team taking us to prospective customers, but other partners in other geographies were also asking us on our capabilities in this area. To think about it, 3 months back we had no knowledge about this tool, and today we are talking to so many possible prospects.

All because one sales person happened to see our video on YouTube and decided to connect with me. I had no plans whatsoever of connecting with this OEM, even in my wildest dreams, but today we have so many proposals happening because of them.

Till next time then.

Carpe Diem!!!

Riding the elephant – Using the power of relationships – networking

Influence, Marketing, Networking, Partners, relationships, Symbiotic relationship

Usually when you make friend with an elephant, you also tend to make friends to the elephants in the herd. Elephants generally move in herds. Which means you can always make more than one friend at a time. Networking is all about making multiple friends and helping them – first.

Its similar when you are able to move with one contact in a large OEM organisation which is starting something new – and this is key – if they are already well established they will not be interested into building a deep relationship. That time the relationships are more transactional.

When they are getting in new – even if they have been established, but they are getting in a new product or service – then if you can make them succeed, then the team involved with you gets into a deeper relationship with you. They are willing to recommend you.

In this the principle of reciprocity plays a big role. Robert Cialdini first articulated this principle in his book Influence. Its worth reading the book if you have anything to do with marketing.

Once you help the team which is targeted for this new offering launch, succeed with you or because of you then if you ask them for a favour to connect you with other members of the team in other regions, other countries, they oblige.

I built a lot of my international network of people because of this. Now I ask my team members to do the same thing. Being a small company we are always limited on resources, but building networks doen’t need resources. It needs humility, it needs you to be paying in advance and things work.

Most people don’t get this right because they go into any relationship with “what’s in it for me” rather than “what can I do for her” . Let me however put a caveat here – you will find some selfish people who will take advantage of this. I had given this same advice to my son and he did this with one of the restaurant owners for their free photo / advertising and she just took the photos and used them herself. But for every such incident, I have also had one person referring me to at least 6-7 new people, so it pays off. And these become long term relationships.

Till next time use the herd of elephants to build your networks and take you places.

Carpe Diem!!!