In dating, as in marketing, there is no easy way to find true love, loyal clients, repeat business or 5-star Yelp reviews.
Luckily in dating, as in brand marketing, there are some guidelines to help you find your "Happily Ever After."
Know your strategy and WHY you are pursuing each client BEFORE moving forward.
What Are Your Intentions?
Are you courting, dating or just trying to hook up with your clients? Do you see the potential for a long term relationship? It is critical that you manage expectations during your dating (or marketing) process so be honest with yourself, as well as your clients.
Spend time working on you first ... get your business in order before you start pursuing the perfect client. Leave the baggage from your old "relationships" in the past.
Find someone who might be The One ... don't go falling in love with every possible client, spend hours to research who is the best fit for the type of relationship you are looking for.
Learn from your previous (client) relationships before making the same mistakes with someone new.
Getting Set Up
You could start Online Dating (Social Media Marketing). You could meet through a common interest (Industry Affiliation). You could ask out a stranger in a bar (Cold Calling). Or you could ask for a referral!
Don't be afraid to ask to get set up! Ask your clients for referrals, ask your strategic business partners for referrals, ask your twitter followers for referrals.
When asking to be set up, be as specific as possible about what you are looking for.
Getting To Know Each Other
When starting a new relationship, communicate what it is that you are looking for but keep in mind it isn't all about you and your wants/needs. Compatibility and communication are key!
Get to know your date by asking the right questions. Do their goals align with yours? Do you have the same wants/needs? How do they like to communicate: phone, email, face-to-face? Does this work with your lifestyle (business structure)?
Show your clients your value and be fun to hang out with. No one wants to be in a relationship with someone who isn't interesting. What are you bringing of value to the relationship?
Check In ... OFTEN
How many fabulous first dates have you had and then never received a call to set up a second date? Take the time to check in and make sure you are both on the same page.
Do they know what you are thinking? Do they know what you want out of the relationship? Do you know what they want or need?
Make An Effort
You wouldn't take a first date to Burger King and you wouldn't show up for a date wearing dirty gym clothes. Put your best foot forward, be intentional with your outreach, personalize your marketing to fit their needs. You get what out what you put in.
Taking it to the Next Level
No one likes a "Stage 5 Clinger" but being a "Timid Timothy" doesn't do you any good either. Once you've decided to have a second date, proceed with caution but be proactive. (Easier said then done, I know!)
Don't blow up their email or voicemail with mindless marketing. Send strategic and personal messages about things that interest them. You should know what those things are because you asked the right questions during your first date!
Find a common ground and truly engage in the relationship. Let them notice how great you are and reciprocate the interest. Maybe they will "like" your Facebook page or if you are really lucky they will reply directly!
Sealing The Deal
Some people may need more foreplay while others just want to get down to business. You don't want to give it up too easily but holding out too long leaves everybody's needs unfulfilled.
Enter into an open, honest and respectful relationship with your clients and always use protection ... contracts are your friend.
No one likes someone who gets around or who has a bad reputation. People read Yelp and if you are leaving a path of broken hearts (or bad customer service) people will find out eventually. It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but I caution you to choose your partners carefully.
Not Every Relationship is Meant to Last
If you are currently in the wrong "relationship" don't be afraid to break up. It could be the best thing that happens to both of you.
If you aren't ready for a serious relationship, date as many people as possible to figure out what you are looking for. Don't be reckless with others but if you meet "The One" make sure you've done your homework and don't let fear hold you back.
If you are ready to settle down, don't settle for good enough because there is someone who is your perfect fit. You don't want to be with Mr. Right Now if Mr. Right comes along.
Maybe you won't marry every client ... but who doesn't want to get to second base?
It is nerve-wracking. You may be rejected, you may not have any chemistry, you may be a perfect fit or someone could get cold feet. Trust me ... The risk is worth it!