Building Deeper Relationships With Your Clients


(By Loyd Ford) To truly reach beyond your competitors, you should consider how you are going to create a sense of community in association with you and your local radio brand or brands. Here are some tips on building relationships.

1. Lean In. Listen more than you open your mouth. Take a beat before you respond to any single thing that is said. In other words, don’t be in any conversation with the idea you are waiting to respond.

2. Be interested in the person first. Most everything you find on this Earth is what we call ‘exchange based.’ You scratch my back; I’ll scratch yours. There is nothing wrong with this, but you won’t stand out doing it. What makes a difference? Be sincerely interested in the person (not just the client).

3. Tell stories. If you know me, you know I am fascinated with Abraham Lincoln. A very shrewd person indeed. Wise. And he worked harder than anyone else to have stories to tell to illustrate meaningful direction, intent, important keys to deepening relationships and for a wide variety of other reason, but they were interesting stories with a purpose. This can work for you beyond what you think, but it takes work. Like any good on-air person (and I mean really good), be compelling, on point and edit your story for your audience.

4. Drop in, checkup, pop in. There is nothing like being an authentic part of someone’s life. I am not talking about going on a sales call. I’m talking about dropping in just to see how they are doing. Stopping by with a small gift or something you think they will find interesting (even outside of business).

5. Invite them into your life. Make time to do things with your clients personally. Whatever you do, DON’T make it all about the sale. Make it about ‘us.’ You and them. Make it more personal.

6. Place the creation of value at the top of your consistent efforts. Bring value to the table every time you have interaction with your clients and look for ways to help them outside your ‘exchange’ (see number 2 above).

7. Consistently make it your goal to under promise and OVER deliver. Not much to say here. You want to be the most powerful, helpful and dynamic servant your clients see and you want to develop strong and deeper relationships, do this at a higher level than anyone else.

8. Consistently communicate with clients. Don’t avoid, engage. It isn’t about bringing a new opportunity to your clients. It is about being a consistent and positive part of their lives. Communication is something that most people don’t do well. Sharpen up. This is one of your most important skills in developing deeper relationships with your clients.

9. Ask your clients how your product is doing, how you are doing regularly. People like to be heard and smart people learn more from feedback than almost anything else. Yet, many people avoid asking how they are doing because of fear of feedback. This is the opposite of highly successful people.

VIP Bonus time. People love to buy brands, not products. You think they care about your spot on the radio or that new digital thing you are carrying around? People buy solutions, stories (see number 3 above) and something else. Brands establish community. We often think about brand work as being what programmers do. It’s the other side of the business. Don’t you believe it. You (as a seller) are either a brand or you are a commodity. Which do you want to be? Well, it takes a lot more than doing the things above to be a real brand. Oh, and don’t be a commodity.

To truly reach beyond your competitors, you should consider how you are going to create a sense of community in association with you and your local radio brand or brands. If you create this community, you will power up meaningful feelings and purpose behind the association that goes beyond the standard benefits of being just a customer.

We truly live in the modern era. Listen to the noise if you want to, but here’s what that really means. Things are becoming more and more compressed. Choices are opening up and people are straying from commodities to things that have meaning, purpose and a feeling that resonates with them personally. You be that meaningful brand for your clients and they won’t drift away.

Simple as that.

They will become the most meaningful relationships outside your family.

And those people need to purchase a lot of advertising.

Loyd Ford is president and chief strategic officer at Rainmaker Pathway Consulting Works (RPC).  Reach Loyd at 864.448.4169 or [email protected].


  1. Great article Loyd!
    Challenging times for Radio Sales. Just finding folks that can execute your prescription. I retired from radio about 3 years ago. Was in the game for 43 years.
    Tough game, big companies trying to hit numbers has created a commodity market. Same old, radio fighting radio for share.
    Glad to see you have a game plan to share. I always enjoyed the training part of my positions.


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