I love Ted Rubin. I do. He is smart, engaged, and he believes in relationship marketing as the primary source of connecting consumers to products. It is as if he and I drank the same marketing Kool-aid. When I as with Carlson Marketing Group our tagline was Relationship Marketing Matters or some other thing - so I have been doing this a long time... this relationship stuff.
So, where do Ted and I differ - you KNEW that was coming.
I believe that relationships shouldn't be based on getting something. See, he says Return on Relationships #RoR... which is such a guy thing. They want something for the dinner they buy you. Ladies, you KNOW what I am talking about.
My take is that you engage in relationships with people to expand your reach of your brand, learn from your customers or targets, and practice engagement - we are constantly practicing how we engage with other people. That is what the continued practice of relationships is all about - learning and growing.
Sure, we want people to like us, we are ALL a little bit like Sally Field in that respect, but the ultimate goal should be that we are making connections. Those connections should someday connect you to something that matters, but you can not predict that and you can't have that as your ultimate goal. You need to build relationships because you see the value in doing that even if you don't see the payoff.
This is a primary difference I see with men in marketing and women. As women we understand that if we build a good base of relationships on and offline we can see the web that is being built. It is a slow and laborious process, but we value that process as part of the work that we are doing. We don't expect to catch every fly in that web, in fact, we might not catch any, but we might hook onto something that becomes integral to our work. So in so, might know so in so, that connects us to so in so, which equals a bingo!
Bottom line? I believe that if you are building relationships to get something you are already losing - we will see through you. Be real, make real connections, spend the time, and the payoff will happen.