The ROI of Relationships

Marketing podcast with Bob Burg

I suspect the title of this post will raise some eyebrows. I mean relationships aren’t about ROI right? They’re about something much deeper. Something you don’t measure in the same way you might, say, the performance of an ad.

photo credit: Angela Radulescu via photopin cc

Well, maybe. Relationships in business are more important than ever and why not think about the return on the time and assets you invest in building real ones.

Relationships can and do feed the soul and make businesses more human and they are quite often the key to great success.

When we work to build relationships we invest our relevance, our influence and our network – all valuable assets. So, why not think in terms of investing these things wisely.

But, if we were to take this ROI notion to heart, we must measure the right thing.

I visited with Bob Burg, best selling author of Endless Referrals and The Go-Giver for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and right off the bat Bob offered this, “All things being equal we do business with and refer those we know, like and trust.”

I know you’ve probably heard me utter those same words many times and it is the ultimate game we engage in – building trust. In fact, I would argue that trust and respect are the definitive measures of a strong and healthy relationship.

Today it’s so easy to talk about the relationship we invest in with our thousands of Twitter followers or our Google+ Circles, but can that scale in any manner that feeds the soul or the bank account?

One of Burg’s greatest contributions to the art of relationship building comes from his relentless pursuit of the notion of giving before getting. Healthy relationships are almost always built on our ability to add value.

Value can be something as simple as “you make me feel better” to something much more business like such as “you help us get more from our current assets,” but the equation remains the same – those that enter into relationships and potential relationships seeking to give value earn trust and respect and that’s how you produce a return on your investment.

I believe you can start to measure the ROI of relationships based on how much you give. Think about that for a minute. You can measure the success of a relationship based on what you give rather than what you get.

What if that was the standard by which you measured how you engaged your world?

What if instead of just looking for ways to engage potential buyers you looked for more ways to do things like introduce others, make referrals, express appreciation, share other people’s content, promote someone else’s dream or understand what a person was lacking.

Although it may at times seem counterintuitive, and it can’t be done with an eye on reciprocation, this is how you measure the ROI of relationships.


Bob Burg, Endless Referrals, Go Giver

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