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Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Mar 14, 2019

8 Ways to Avoid Anti-Relationship Marketing

Anti-relationship marketing is lethal, and yet so many companies do it.

I’ll bet your company is doing it too.

What is this deadly marketing sin?

Anti-relationship marketing is annoying your customers with your marketing and sales efforts after you’ve made the sale. Being anti-relationship means your words and/or actions say you prefer to just stick with the transaction thank you.

Anti-relationship marketing is standard practice for some companies, and can cost you not only your current customers but generations of customers to come.

Observe how companies you buy from treat you after the sale and see how widespread this affliction really is.

The 8 Anti-Relationship Marketing Mistakes You Need to Avoid:

1. The buyer’s journey doesn’t end at the sale

You want to capture after-sale value don't you? You want to build loyalty, of course? Pay as much attention to the buyer journey after the sale as you did during the prospecting, consideration, and decisions stages. You learned a lot about me during the buying journey.....use it after the sale. Segmentation should start early so you can put me into the most profitable experience for MY persona. After all, I might still buy services and products from you in the future. Listen to this podcast where I rant about my car dealer checking every anti-relationship box possible.

2. Dear Occupant, I Love You

Do you attempt to personalize the after-sale experience to me at all. I bought from you, you know my name and my preferences yet refuse to customize your communications (email, postcard, phone call) to me. 

3. All mouth and no ears

 Once my car dealer had me on the phone for the standard we want to buy your car and sell you a new one campaign, they weren't listening to me at all. I told them exactly who I was and what I wanted. There was no interest in understanding me in any way, shape, or form. Every time I go to my car dealer for service a nice young lady finds me and ask me the same question (4 times in a row now), "We have a high demand for your model vehicle and we would love to give you a quote for it". I tell her each time that I am the buy-and-hold type of buyer and that I will not sell my car for many years. She always politely says OK, thank you, and walks away. No ears. No training to ask a follow up question, no process to think of me in any way other than a buyer to churn into a new car. This one is a result of #2, no capacity to personalize my experience. 

4. Who cares what you want?

The person who called me from my car dealer probably had a quota for getting agreements to get estimates and that was their sole focus. Whoever thinks this is a good way to treat customers is failing them. This is a failure of leadership, an obsolete mindset, and lack of insight into buyers today.

5. One size fits all, whether you like it or not

Did they match to my buyer journey, or to what they wanted to sell? This is Henry Ford all over (you can have any color as long as it is black).

6. “I’m sorry Dave, I won’t open the pod bay doors.”

Technology is a terrible thing to waste. If you don't add the right information up front your technology tools can't help you personalize the customer experience.

Most CRM software has an infinite capacity to create different buyer personas. Depending on the software, it can be as simple as adding a hashtag to the notes field (#BuyAndHold) that you can filter by, or as complex as adding them to a new marketing automation funnel. Yet....they didn't bother. Another leadership, process, management, mindset failure.

7. A mind is a terrible thing to waste

Car dealerships need to maximize the value of that army of people calling all their customers. Their brains can understand things email automation never will. Give them the full toolbox to get value out of every interaction. But first, leaders have to care, really care about helping their customers and not think of them as just a number to dialed until they get the result THEY want.

8. No alternative plan to pivot to

If you do the work to understand your buyer personas, you can then create offerings for each one and not get stuck in one lane. You need to be flexible and have options.

Companies don't put themselves in the shoes of their customers. They don't shop themselves. If they did this type of interaction would never occur.

Most leaders look at the customer experience process through their own lens and their own internal myopic view. And they just straight-up aren't listening to customers. I think, no, I know, it reflects their culture, their mission, and their mindset. It goes back to the leadership's beliefs and experience.

It's sad because treating your customers this way is a huge wasted opportunity.

The bottom line is as old as the Golden Rule, treat others as you would wish to be treated. Or even better, the Platinum Rule, treat people the way they want to be treated.

If you want to grow your business with your existing customers right now give me a call, I am happy to help!

To learn more, check out The Industrial Executive podcast.

Our clients grow 10-20% in the first year.

Topics: Inbound Organization, Company Culture