How to become a Relational Leader

by DanD

Marketing is not for the faint of heart. However the secret of successful marketing does not come from being loud, dominant and crafty. Success in marketing depends on how effective you are in cultivating key relationships. Achieving marketing success requires helping others achieve their goals and placing their interests above your own.

Aggressive and dominating behavior in business meetings, business-to-buisness or client engagements is not how you win over clients or strategic business relationships. Instead successful marketing requires  Relational Leadership.

In the book The Winning Attitude by John C. Maxwell, the author quotes former President Teddy Roosevelt: “The most important single ingredient to the forumla of success is knowing how to get along with people.” This is the essence of being a relational leader.

Being a relational leader in marketing goes hand-in-hand with puting the interests of your clients and other relationships above your own. This requires thinking their thoughts, anticipating their desires and putting yourself in their shoes.

  • What is motivating them?
  • How can you supply their deepest goals?
  • Are their ways in which you can help them achieve their interests?

The Golden Rule is not only practical it is a fundamental law of successful marketing and relationships: “Therefore, however you want  people to treat you, so treat them” (Matthew 7:12).

In order to be a Relational Leader here are three practical tips:

1. Know who your key clients  and strategic partners are – learn about what they are seeking.

2. If possible establish professional and friendly relationships – this is the foundation for trust.

3. Don’t try to push your message. Offer help first, even if this means directing them to a competitor that is more aligned to fufilling their specific needs.

This will send a powerful message that you have their best in mind and that you can be trusted as a leader and guide.

Marketing works when clients feel they can trust you as a guide. Your product or service must actually add value and enable their goals to be fulfilled. Being a Relational Leader means treating every person like you would the President of the United States.

John Maxwell gives a great challenge: “For one week treat every person you meet, without a single exception, as the most important person on earth. You will find that they will begin treating you the same way.”


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