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We all know we are judged by the results we get in our jobs.  In marketing, performance is critical to success.  But, with so many agencies and vendors offering the same services, there is an unknown in the key to success.  It can’t be all performance based.  So, a little marketing algebra for you. “X+Performance = Success” would be the problem we are solving.  Let’s solve for ‘x’.  This doesn’t have to just be for agencies and marketing.  it would apply to anyone.

Ask a hundred people and you would get a 50 different answers (I would welcome any in the comments below).  No answer would be correct.  My answer won’t be the answer for everyone.  But, as I evaluate what my answer is and how I judge success, I was smacked in the face with a random post on LinkedIn that brought it all into focus.  I immediately knew the answer for ‘x’.

A colleague of mine, Tiffany McClain, posted something that struck a cord in terms of how I operate in business.  Tiffany is currently Sr. Director of Marketing at Mimi’s Cafe and has held many great positions in the restaurant industry.  She happened to post about inside sales and how much the current approach many people take sucks.  She fields request after request via email and the norm is becoming passive aggressive pitches putting the workload on the marketer.  I’ll piggyback on her frustration as I am a prospect at times.  When I get an automated email from a vendor and the call to action is to click a link to schedule time with them.  I despise this and it comes off as lazy and oh so passive.

What happened to trying to showcase your value and the need you can immediately solve for a client?  Not hiding behind things like ‘this isn’t a sales call’ or other tactics to hide you are trying to sell something.  Just be upfront and honest.  And, try to think about a need you can solve.

My relationship with Tiffany is the perfect example of how I operate and why respect is more important than a sale.  (and yes, I know my stance costs me sales, makes me less likely to close at high rates, and I don’t care)

I’ve known Tiffany for a littler over 4 years.  We met when I randomly reached out to see if she needed any direct mail support for anything they were going through (she was at Which Wich? at the time).  I did a little research beforehand and knew they were opening like crazy.  So, I tailored my message to her need (grand openings) and how we could solve it (our mail programs to drive traffic and awareness post opening).  She said she was open to a meeting to understand what we did and how we might help them.  When we met, we quickly establish a few ways we could help, but the timing wasn’t right.  I could respect that.

So, over the course of time, I kept on her radar and made sure to make time to see her when I was in Dallas seeing clients.  She was always open to seeing me.  We typically would have more laughs than anything else.  She’s quite the storyteller and our time was always enjoyable.  After a good amount of time, we finally had the chance to work together on a project for Which Wich?.  Patience and relationship finally paid off.  She quickly knew where to put us in her marketing plan, told us to be patient and we listened.  It works.

Over the years, Tiffany has worked for a number of great brands.  All of which I would love to work with.  But, rather than be a passive aggressive jerk in my sales approach, I put relationship above all else and knew that if our time would be right, she would know where to find us.  I still try to see her when I’m in town.  I keep up with what is going on in her world via news and brief messages back and forth.  Instead of bombarding her, I trust that our relationship will put us in the right place at the right time.  I trust she knows what we do and will bring us in if the time is right.

I say all that and share that story in a long-winded effort to solve for ‘x’ in the equation above.  For me, ‘x’ is personality to drive a real relationship.  It can’t be about the sale and marketing.  Everyone does sales.  Everyone does marketing.  Not everyone is someone you want to be around and actually like to see.  Being who I am from day one plus performance equals success for me.

I hear it from my clients.  I tell it to my trusted partners.

So many people can do what you do.  It’s the relationship and how differently you think that keeps me coming your way.  I value what YOU bring to the table.

Combine that with performance, and for me, you’ve got the formula for success.  One without the other will lead to some sort of failure.