Is there a way to measure the "return on relationships"?

I'm trying to figure out how to describe the value of meeting with people in person. I know how important building those relationships are, but I would like to explain it in a way that feel more concrete than, "met 7 people today, I think they really like us now..."


In our new book, Entrepreneur's Guide to The Lean Brand, Jeremiah Gardner and I tackle how relationships build passionate customers. In our view, products should fulfill a utility promise -- this functionality solves a that specific problem. But fulfilling the promise can only create 'satisfaction.' (Not always true, but generally.) It's the relationships between company and employees with customers that potentially creates 'passion,' which is required for scalable growth.

So how do you measure passion? Probably not in one particular way. Some combination of things like Net Promoter Score, Must-Have Score; social-media campaigns that measure participatory behavior; increase sharing of content; increase in viral-coefficient (OK for non-network effect business < 1!).

Early on, the best way to establish relationships is by meeting customers in person, in order to understand them deeply and develop empathy. Hypothesize 'what behavior can I expect from a customer with whom I've developed a relationship?' Measure whether that behavior is occurring.

Answered 10 years ago

If it's a direct sales relationship (a lead), then you should absolutely measure it. If it's a relationship building thing where there is no direct sale, then I wouldn't measure it directly. You have to decide over time which meetings (and with whom) are worth it. I wrote about exactly that (and how I use Clarity to solve it) here:

Answered 10 years ago

"Relationships" are hard to define, and therefore conjure some tangible, measurable unit.

Some relationships produce fruit quickly, others need to be tended to for many years or decades.

If you are simply looking for an equation where 7 people will produce "X", look at your historical numbers to understand your conversion rates and average customer value.

This question is a bit nebulous, so feel free to book a call and we can talk in more detail to really get your question answered.

Answered 10 years ago

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