One of the first New Business Rules involves shifting from a transaction-based sale to a relationship focus. Back in the old days, people had relationships with those they purchase goods and services from. Enter the industrial age, and the rise of the “middleman” and the marketer.

Middlemen are focused on the transaction: money for a product or service. They’re not attached emotionally to the products since they’re not creating them. In fact, in many cases, the middleman doesn’t even see, feel, or touch the products.

With the explosion of the Internet, we’ve seen the dramatic resurgence of what we called relationship marketing. Whether it’s business-to-business or business-to-consumer, we’re seeing more direct contact between buyers and sellers. It’s actually redefining what we consider a customer.

Relationship marketing is defined as “the development, growth, and maintenance of long-term, cost-effective exchange relationships with individual customers, suppliers, employees, and other partners for mutual benefits.”

When your company understands how to shift to a relationship focus, you can create an integrated, cross functional, collaborative team that recognizes the importance of an emotional bond with customers. With a relationship-oriented approach, your marketing, sales, and customer service teams must work together to ensure that you’re meeting customer needs and exceeding their expectations summation point

What are you doing to increase customer retention and maximize the lifetime value of your customers?