This past weekend I experienced a 300,000 ton example regarding the importance of relationship marketing.
As I had done last year, I again took my father to Norfolk for a cruise aboard the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Harry S. Truman.
This is an annual event that allows 3,500+ family members to see, first hand, how their sons, daughters or siblings live aboard ship.
To best understand my point, I need to explain that last year’s experience was incredible. The shear number of planes landing on the deck 100 feet from where we stood, aerial demonstrations and F/A 18′s breaking the sound barrier multiple times, were truly jaw dropping. The day was so exciting that it inspired my father and I to return, this time with my husband filling out our trio.
As it turned out, this year was nothing like the last. My intention was to relive the excitement I had felt and shared with my Dad. My disappointment was caused by an event that was significantly scaled back. In retrospect, I can understand that budget cuts made it necessary to reduce the expense of the spectacle. My point is that there was no communication that it would be different or why. If there had been we could, and would have adjusted our expectations.
The Navy is facing many of the same fiscal challenges that businesses, small and large, are dealing with. Cut backs are often necessary for survival. The good news is that most of us understand if we are prepared.
Communicating changes in they way you conduct business to your constituents will assist them in adjusting their expectations. If it has been your practice to host an elaborate party every year and circumstances don’t allow it this year, spread the word—early. By not communicating a change, you could easily erase all the good will you’ve built over the years.
More importantly, be creative. If a big-bucks event was the only time you came face-to-face with your business relations, consider individual lunches. Those who have contributed to your past success simply want to know that they still count.
You may not have the budget to break the sound barrier, but you can still stand proud.