Savvy business owners know that relationships are essential for success. In their bestselling book The Go-Giver, authors Bob Burg and John David Mann use a business parable to make the point that, all things being equal, people prefer doing business with people they know, like and trust.

Relationships are also the basis of most business referrals. Think about it, how did you choose your insurance agent? Your tax accountant? Your realtor? Chances are, you already had a relationship with them—or they were referred to you by someone else who did.

How to Master Relationship Marketing

Ironically, selling on relationship doesn’t involve any selling at all—at least not initially. Relationships aren’t formed to generate an immediate sale or transaction. Instead, relationships are built slowly over time. By letting customers and prospects know that you value and appreciate them as individuals, and by helping them reach their goals, you increase the likelihood that they’ll buy from you and refer your business to others.

For specific relationship marketing strategies that pay off, read “Five Ways to Master Relationship Marketing.”  Then watch the following video that I made for Grange Insurance Association and its network of independent agents in which I share my own story of choosing an insurance agent based on relationship:

Think about your own relationships. Are you doing as much as you can to nurture and solidify the relationships with existing clients so they stay loyal to you and refer your business to their friends and colleagues? Technology comes and goes, but one thing remains unchanged: People do business with people they know, like and trust.