Never say this to your customers or your wife

Yesterday Kristen and I went for a walk. The sun was shining and the flowers were blooming. A great time of year to be in Seattle. Although it's a little cold still, it's beautiful.

We dropped by one of the local coffee shops and got a London Fog to share. That's about as much caffeine as I'll allow in the afternoon. Coffee will keep me up at night if I have it later in the day.

Anyways, she picked up the bill, and I said thank you and then we were on our way.

Contrast this experience with a couple weeks ago, we were out for brunch with friends. They offered to pick up the bill. And here's what I said:

"Thanks. I owe you one."

I owe you one... It's almost second nature to me. A habit that was instilled long ago. When someone I don't know that well offers me something, I feel obligated to return the favor. But when someone who I'm in a close relationship with offers, it's just a simple thank you. I know that I'll have the opportunity to treat them to something nice. I could never imagine telling the love of my life "I owe you one."

And that's the difference. Relationships versus transactions.

So many business owners focus their content efforts on creating a transaction. They want to compel their prospects to "owe them one" after all of the value that they give away for free. These people are missing the point.

When you create a relationship, you completely avoid this trap.

There is no need to owe anybody anything. Instead, teach them and inspire them because you love to help people and they join your programs because they trust you and get amazing results.

This frees you up from the guilt, the sleazy selling, the pressure tactics, and the lies that plague the online business realm these days, giving marketers a worse reputation than used car salesmen.

And above all, it makes you stand out like the only person who truly cares in a world full of predatorial coaches and consultants, making sales effortless, and testimonials and referrals easy.

So how do you create relationships with your audience consistently and reliably?

After all, it's not good enough to do it every once in a while when the wind blows. This is a business and you need to be making consistent income. However, I'd argue that the reason why you're not making consistent income (if you're not) is because you're too focused on transactions. Launch after launch. New leads, shiny objects, "what's working now" and all that bad advice.

Relationships are a long term game.

But, as I've argued many times before, its the only game worth playing. The only way to survive.  So, here's how I build relationships in my business:

  1. Create content every day. Whether it's emails, blog posts, social media, or whatever. It's an opportunity for me to bond with my audience, share a story, help them reframe their problem, and grow closer.
  2. Share rituals. I learned the true power of rituals from the gaming legend Dr. Disrespect. But it's also present in most world religions and cults. The idea of sharing a practice, doing things together, belonging, all create a trusting relationship.
  3. Demonstrate your expertise. Sometimes the best way to earn trust is to roll up your sleeves and earn it. Lead your audience by example. Get out there and help them achieve their goals live. As they say, seeing is believing.

If you implement these three things consistently in your business, you will consistently build relationships with your audience. This will lead to more consumption of your content and courses. Which leads to more sales. Which leads to better results. Which leads to more testimonials and referrals. Which leads to more trusting relationships.

This flywheel is the foundation of a successful knowledge business. It's not flashy. It's not always easy. But its so simple. And anyone can do it.

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