Return on Relationship

December

8

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Our relationships are currency. We need to honor them, invest in them, and start measuring our ROR (Return on Relationship). But how do we do this? Our special guest, Kathryn Rose from channelWise will share some real-world, practical ideas that will help you maximize your relationships effectively and efficiently.

Join Tim Fitzpatrick and Kathryn Rose for this week’s episode of The Rialto Marketing Podcast!

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Return on Relationship

Tim Fitzpatrick
Our relationships are currency. We need to honor them, invest in them, and start measuring our ROR or return on relationship. But how do we do this? Our special guest will share some real-world, practical ideas that will help you maximize your relationships effectively and efficiently. Hi, I am Tim Fitzpatrick with Rialto Marketing, where we believe you must remove your revenue roadblocks to accelerate growth and marketing shouldn't be difficult. Thank you so much for taking the time to tune in. I am super excited to have Katherine Rose from channelWise with me today. Katherine, welcome. Thanks for being here.

Kathryn Rose
Hey, Tim, thanks for having me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, I'm excited to dig into this. This is an interesting spin. I've never heard of return on relationship, so I can't wait to dig into this with you. Before we do that, I want to ask you a few rapid-fire questions to help us get to know you. You ready to jump in with both feet?

Kathryn Rose
I am.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Okay. When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

Kathryn Rose
With my kids, I have two.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Cool. How old?

Kathryn Rose
Sixteen and eleven.

Tim Fitzpatrick
They grow up fast, don't they? What's your hidden talent?

Kathryn Rose
I sing. I don't know if it's hidden, but yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Any type of music specifically or all kinds?

Kathryn Rose
Opera. I trained in opera for almost 16 years.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Dang. Okay. I have to hear that someday. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?

Kathryn Rose
That disappointment is inevitable, but misery is optional.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a great one.

Kathryn Rose
That's why you invited me.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes, that's right. Well, I mean, typical mindset shift, right? How do we view the things that happen to us?

Kathryn Rose
Exactly.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love that. Such a great one. What's one thing about you that surprises people other than you think opera?

Kathryn Rose
Well, yeah, that's exactly. I think that would probably be one of the things that I would say most people don't know that I sing.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. I mean, I never would have guessed. I mean, I don't know.

Kathryn Rose
I feel Llke you really guess, I guess. It's not like...

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. What does success mean to you?

Kathryn Rose
Success means being able to look back on my career and the things that I've done in the terms, and we can talk about this obviously, in the context of return on relationship. Have I cultivated and accelerated and lifted up as many people as I can? And also for myself, have I taken the time to have a good relationship with myself, understand my strengths and weaknesses, and been able to translate those into others and help them succeed as well.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. That relationship with ourselves is one that's so easy to overlook, isn't it?

Kathryn Rose
Yeah, it sure is.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Where is your happy place?

Kathryn Rose
I love the ocean. I love the ocean. Yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Any ocean in particular?

Kathryn Rose
I love Rhode Island, actually. I love the Narragansett area. We used to go there and Block Island as well in Ross. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I live in New England. I've grown up in New England, so I really do like the beaches here. It's not as clear water as you have in some different areas, but it's just a different feel. But this time of year, especially, I mean, it's getting a little colder, but typically I like the spring and the fall because it's just crisp enough and you probably wouldn't want to go dive into that water. There's not a lot of crowds and it's just calming.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I have a lot of relatives on the Cape, especially in Provincetown, Orleans, Broomster, but also went to Block Island. God, how many years ago was that? It was a while ago now, but super cool.

Kathryn Rose
It's a great place. Yeah.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, super cool. What qualities do you value in the people you spend time with?

Kathryn Rose
I think the positivity, it's really important. You don't want to hang around with a whole bunch of negative people. Others who have that same mission, who want to help each other, want to lift each other up. I like to surround myself with people who are smarter than I am. I'm always learning from the people. So if you look at my network, I have folks that are in younger generations but are really super bright, up and comers, and I just like surrounding myself with them. And then I have CEOs and I have different folks that really just lend themselves to this incredible environment of learning. A friend of mine, she used to say she's a learn-it-all. And I love that saying that I'm always trying to learn different things from people.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I'm seriously going to steal that. Learn it all. Yeah, that fits me well. Never done learning. I love to... Having a diverse network allows you to learn so many different things because people at varying levels. But gosh, a lot of people overlook the people that are earlier in their career rather than later, especially when you're later. Ma'am, sometimes we just don't see things that younger people see, and so having visibility to that, I think, is a huge advantage. It is. Tell us more about what you're doing at channelWise.

Kathryn Rose
So channelWise was born on the fact that we really want to democratize access to information. So one of the challenges, particularly in the channel, I started in telecom, I did AV channel for a while, so I've run the gamut, bars now MSPs, and even still solution providers in general. And what I found over the years is that they all have a lot of the same problems. There are small businesses at the end of the day generating a good amount of revenue, but they still have those small business challenges: finance, marketing, sales, all those kinds of things. And there's plenty of resources out there. They're very passive. Come read my book, take my class. But it's like if you just want to go farther, faster, picking up the phone and calling somebody. But I mean, could you go to a show and maybe get five minutes with a speaker at the end of the thing? Sure, maybe. Could you reach out to Tim on LinkedIn and maybe you'll take my call maybe if you check your other inbox. But having this collection and repository of all these incredible influencers, smart people, people who are really willing to give back and adding the dynamics of a little bit of a fee so the person feels valued, you feel like your time is going to be valuable as well because you're going to get the advice that you need when you need it. And so that's the idea of that. And also we do a lot of content as well. We have our Ask the Expert series. And then recently we launched the coaching cafes that we do at shows have been really well received. We stand those up at conferences and there's no fee partner. Even vendors can come in and integrate and interface with our experts and get the information that they need about their businesses. So really the idea of getting the advice you need when you need it, resources and education in a practical, tactical way, that's what we're all about.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. As business owners, I think sometimes we want to just figure things out, right? And do it ourselves. And I know I fall into that trap or have fallen into that trap, but gosh, if we can find those people that already have that knowledge, it can help us get where we want to go much, much faster and avoid a lot of those common pitfalls. So yeah, channelWise is doing such great stuff. So hopefully people just continue to take advantage of that because we don't need to suffer in silence, right?

Kathryn Rose
100 %.

The Concept of Return on Relationship

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yes. So let's dig into the concept of ROR or return on relationship. So can you just first off define this concept for us?

Kathryn Rose
So this is a concept that my friend Ted Rubin and my co-author of the book, Return on Relationship. We pioneered that this idea of the fact... It really was born out of the idea when social media first started and I was actually around for that. There was a lot of pressure and there are still in some ways today to how many followers do I have? How many like do I have? All those kinds of things. And the idea was that even back then we were saying we have to stop measuring our effectiveness, the ROI, so to speak, of these networks on these metrics that mean nothing. I could pay someone to give me 10,000 followers on YouTube, quite frankly, right? So the idea is how are we actually then taking those relationships, following them to the next level, making sure that we're constantly communicating, commenting on other people's posts, and really making them more of a relationship to make ourselves, our companies, more successful, right? Because nobody wants to feel like they like your post and then it just goes into nowhere. Or if somebody comments on one of my posts, I make sure that I thank them for that comment, or I'm just constantly doing that because the idea is that relationships are always two-way streets. Right. How are we putting our messaging out there and how are we responding back when people are responding to us? The idea of return on relationship is this... It's a mindset, really. Moving from that transactional mindset to how am I furthering the relationship, the livelihood, the life, the business of my potential customer, connections that I have and so forth.

Tim Fitzpatrick
I love the fact that you talk about the metrics because within marketing it is so easy to just go down the metric rabbit hole. And like you touched on, so many of them don't mean anything. Like, okay, great, you got a gazillion followers. I actually just got done with doing a marketing deep dive assessment for a client, and we looked at some of their competitors, and some of their competitors are large, private equity backed companies spending tons of money. They have tons of followers on social media. No engagement. Next to no engagement. And so obviously something that they were focused on the overall top line metric of how many followers do we have, but it's not building a community. It's not leading to any business outcomes. So it's super important to really focus on the right things. And what I'm hearing you say is with relationships, look, there's another person on the end, other ends, right? So we need to focus on what we're doing to build the relationship and just having a follower doesn't mean you're building the relationship.

Kathryn Rose
Yeah. We're talking about the context of marketing, but if you even take a step further in the context of channel, right? Yeah. The idea of the nuance of the channel or IT, telecom channel is the fact that you're trying to sell through other people. And it's not that one partner is connected to you alone. I mean, there's lots of other vendors and suppliers that they could use, right? Yes. So the idea of return on relationship becomes amplified in the sense that we have a lot of vendors out there say, Well, I have 10,000 partners. Well, only 20 % are transaction, that whole 80-20 percent-20 rule, and they just take that as a feta company like, Oh, it's the Pareto principle. I don't believe in that. I don't want that the 80 % of the people who aren't transacting are dragging on my resources, because if I have to spend one minute of time thinking about them, I'm not focusing on those 20 % who are. If I really believe that I have these right fit partners or whatever, what am I doing to continuously enable, engage, enhance the relationship that I have with them so that they continue to transact with me. I'm not one of those people who takes that 80-20 rule as something that is just the cost of doing business. There's got to be a better way. If you're focused on the relationship and how you're nurturing it, feeding it, watering it, whatever you want to call it, then that person is going to want to return to you something.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. It seems too, to me, in this channel example, especially, when we're thinking about return on relationship, it's going to help us make better decisions about what we need to do to move those relationships forward. So for example, I had a conversation with a vendor in the IT space probably a month ago that I had reached out to learn more about what they were doing from a sales and a marketing enablement standpoint to help their partners just grow their business and do better. And what I see people that they were falling into the same trap that I see a lot of vendors do, which I think is a huge mistake, I reached out to them about like, Hey, let's do some marketing workshops to help your partners grow their business. Because if they grow their business, they are naturally going to buy more stuff from you and you are going to help further that relationship along. They were too focused on this material is not... There's not enough information about what we're doing in this material. And to me, they're missing the entire point of why you might want to do that. Does that make sense? Is that along this path of some of the things that we can do to boost our ROR?

Kathryn Rose
Well, I mean, channelWise does this. So vendors will pay for our services on behalf of their partners. And my whole point is if you want to change the level of engagement, you have to change the engagement model. So we keep doing the same things over again, expecting a different result, that whole definition of insanity. So yes, there are people out there who don't get it. There are people who they just won't. And that's okay. That's not the person that you want to buy your services, right? But a lot of folks are asking coming to us because we have this vast amount of resources to say, Okay, we work with a lot of vendors where we do thought leadership content, we do workshops. We do... And again, they can buy memberships to channelWise or access to our experts to help their partners do more. So yeah, I mean, I think that it's really trying to... The challenge is we look at it in the context of channel, we can switch our hats back to the idea of when we first wrote this book and this concept came to fruition about what's the ROI of social media. And someone once said, What's the ROI of your mother? Because it was this idea of this game of telephone, the more people you talk to thing. And then for us it was like, you can't draw even a dotted line between a tweet and a sale. But if you don't do it, you're more likely to not get that sale. So it's the same thing here. It is very challenging because channel marketers and sales people are tied to that ROI. If I spend a dollar, I have to get 10 back. So how is what I'm doing getting that 10 back? And since you can't necessarily measure relationships, it's a very challenging thing. You just know if you don't do it, you're likely going to end up where you are now. So that's where it is. And we're gathering that data with the clients that we work with on how the things that we're doing are affecting them, not only maybe right after the workshop or right after the webinar that we run for them, because we have a pretty large list of partners and MSPs and stuff. But not only that, but down the road, like three months, six months, like how are they actually... Are they getting better partners? Are they getting more engagement from their partners? So we're focused on that on our side.

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How to Maximize Our Potential by Using the Right Community-focused Tools Online

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Well, and that leads into my next question for you. There's obviously a ton of online tools that we've talked about social media a little bit. How can we maximize our potential by using the right community-focused tools online?

Kathryn Rose
Well, I think it starts with identifying that right fit customer, that right fit partner. Like who are these people? Where do they live online? First, once you have that down, then what are the best tools that will allow me to communicate with these people where they live, how they want to be communicated with? Because sometimes from a marketing standpoint, sometimes we have this idea, we have all the answers. Well, sometimes it takes a little time to really dig through, like how do these people want to hear from us? Is it email? Is it text message? Is it a WhatsApp group? I got invited to a WhatsApp group today. I don't personally like WhatsApp groups because it's constant buzzing of my phone, which drives me nuts. Some of the other folks in my network, up and comers, a lot of them use Discord. So again, where does your market live and how do they want to be communicated with? So that's number one. Then number two, okay, let's figure out. Now we know those things. What's the best cadence? What are the best tools? How can we effectively get our messages out to the right people? I think sometimes we just spend time doing too many things rather than doing the right things.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Thank you for answering it that way because you just support my entire thoughts on marketing. I want to pull this out to make sure people don't miss this. You said we need to start with who we're trying to serve, who we want to engage. On the marketing sense, it's like our ideal clients. Who are those people? Everything from a marketing standpoint starts there. It's where everything is driven. And if we skip that or we don't have as much of an understanding as we should, everything else down the line is completely out of alignment. And so whether I like Discord or WhatsApp or not doesn't freaking matter.

Kathryn Rose
It doesn't matter.

Tim Fitzpatrick
If my ideal clients are there and that's how they want to be engaged, then that's where I need to be.

Kathryn Rose
And to be fair too. And maybe they want a phone call. Ted and I used to say this all the time like, You see this here? It's still valuable. Pick it up and use it. I call our experts all the time. I'll call our clients. I'm in constant communication because I think that sometimes we try to automate relationships to a certain degree that there's obviously a need for it because of scalability and whatever, but at the end of the day, people do business with people. So you still need to have that human interaction. People laugh all the time when I talk about the channel and I say that there are literally hundreds of events in the channel, and they're like, You're still going to events? Yeah, it's a big thing. And so you have to be there and you have to be present. And again, that's how your client wants to be interacted with.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Once we understand who they are and where they are and how they like to be interacted with, that's then going to dictate the tools that we choose to use and the frequency and how we actually reach out.

Kathryn Rose
Correct. A lot of small businesses, especially when they first start out, they're just taking customers. There's nothing wrong with that. You obviously have to pay the bills, you have to get to a certain thing, but you can still at least say, I want to focus on law firms in the New England area, whatever that is. And if you do take a customer over here because you need to do that to feed your family, well, that's what you do. But you're in the back of your mind, This is a temporary situation. I'm trying to get... I want to be the number one partner, MSP, whatever it is, for these folks or vendors. I had a conversation with a vendor today, and they were like, We want basically the long tail partner who focuses on the mom and pop shops. That's where we want to live. Awesome, because we can help you get there, right? But at least they know it. Right.

The Biggest Mistakes People Make with Return on Relationship

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah, there's a lot that don't know it, or they think they know it, but it's far too broad to be able to really hone in on it. What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making with return on relationship?

Kathryn Rose
I think it's expecting something in return. I think that's oftentimes in relationships in general. All relationships are about expectations. Zigg, Ziggler famously said, You can have everything you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want. And I say that to some folks and that makes you sound like a doormat or whatever. No. But what it also is, and what it's not, is saying like, I'm going to help you, Tim, and then I expect you to help me back.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Right.

Kathryn Rose
I just fully believe that if it's something that I can do for someone else, I do it. That's just what it is. Over the years, that's one of the reasons I've been so successful is that I have connections from my banking days back in the day. I have connections from my AV, from the telecom, from everything. And now a lot of these things are coming to fruition because when I started my company, the banking connections, it still helped me try to find investors. But just knowing that, and sometimes it's not just like they don't have to make a connection, they can just retweet my tweet or they can share my LinkedIn post or comment on it or whatever. But it's giving without that expectation of getting something back. I think that that is really the biggest mistake because people are busy. And I think that oftentimes people will suffer in silence and they'll be like, well, I helped Tim do so many things and how come he didn't help me? Well, maybe I didn't ask Tim. Tim is not sitting around thinking all day like, Gee, I wonder what Katherine is doing. Now I am one of those people that do. I drove down the road the other day I was driving my son off from school and there was a billboard and it reminded me of somebody I hadn't talked to in a while. I was like, Oh, my God, that was a funny saying on this billboard. How are you doing? Because I hadn't talked to him a while. Or if I'm talking to you and you mentioned something that you're doing. I'm like, maybe you should connect with so and so because that's just who I am. But not everyone's like that. And so I think that that's what the expectation. You have to remove the expectation of if we are in this relationship, then in order to be in my sphere, you have to give back. That's not how it works.

Tim Fitzpatrick
The other thing I think a lot of people struggle with this, I know I struggle with this too, is building relationships takes time, right? You can't manufacture it. How do you know whether to continue to investing time in that relationship or whether it's time to move on to another relationship?

Kathryn Rose
That's a really good question.

Tim Fitzpatrick
That's a loaded question.

Kathryn Rose
It's taking me a really long time to know this. I actually had this conversation with someone the other day. It's taken me a really long time because I like investing in people. And I think when the relationship becomes a constant where you're giving, giving, giving. I think that's part of it. Again, there's a difference between giving without the expectation of getting and someone constantly taking. There's a big difference there. That's a big difference. And I also think that if you're telling that person or in a business relationship, if you're saying to that company, I need you to show up in X, Y, Z way and they refuse to do it, well, then we're going to have to part ways. I think that the other thing in terms of relationships is, I've always lived and I tell people this all the time, you always deliver bad news in person. Everyone's going to make mistakes. Every relationship there's going to be a mistake. Show up, own it. Even if you didn't do anything wrong, you say, Hey, look, this is an awkward situation we find ourselves in. How can we move on from here? But far too many people show up in those relationships in that situation and they blame others or they don't take responsibility or they send an email or a text, Hey, sorry this happened. No, no. You have to have that level of maturity and you have to have that... And it may be a business ending relationship situation. You might have... The company might have made a huge mistake that the other party has to say, Look, I've got to... But it's better that you show up, take responsibility, figure out a way to get past it. And I think one of the other number one things in relationships is doing what you say you're going to do. If you say you're going to do something, you do it.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. So to me, I think you need to have an idea of where you hope this relationship will go. Communicating clearly, doing what you can to help that other person while at the same time looking at what are they doing on the other side? Are their actions reflecting that they want that this is an important relationship to them, that they want to build it and not just give blindly and not think about all these other things, right? Because when we're giving blindly and not thinking about all these other things, I think that's when we may have a tendency of people walking all over us.

Kathryn Rose
Well, I do. I think that that's a good point. And also again, in... And sometimes it's what you give. So if I see a job posting and I know someone has just been let go for a riff or whatever, and it takes me two seconds to send that job posting to that person, that's the thing you do in a relationship. But that doesn't mean I'm expecting them to hire me later on. You know what I mean? But I think that there's definitely levels. And when you look at relationships in general, you have those concentric circles. You have that inner circle who the ride or die, like we call the ride or die folks. Then you have the next level out of, well, if I see you at a show, I might buy you a drink or hang out or you might want to do business with me. I have good stuff to offer thing. Then you have, hey, I'm going to retweet you. You have those different levels of relationships. So it's just knowing who those people are and they show themselves over time. And that's where you really have to... You just have to be very self-aware and be aware of the relationship itself and figure out when it's time to stick with it and when it's time to walk away.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Unfortunately, it's not always a very black and white thing.

Kathryn Rose
It's not.

Conclusion

Tim Fitzpatrick
It's very gray. Any Last minute thoughts you want to leave us with here? You've dropped some seriously cool stuff.

Kathryn Rose
I think one of the things that has just been such an important part of my success, what's happening with me in my life in general, is this idea of taking the time to nurture those relationships. And we do only have a finite amount of time. And I have two kids, I have a husband, I have a dog, I have my mom is paraplegic. I mean, famously I tell the story about how I was on Wall Street in 2007. I was doing very, very well, one of the top sales people, and then the mortgage market melted down. I was eight months pregnant. My mom had a brain aneurysm that left her paraplegic. And I had to reinvent my entire life, right? And it was, I mean, I could talk about it now without breaking down, but it's very, very... It was extremely difficult time. And I just had this conversation with my son the other day about like, these are things that you cannot control. Stuff's going to happen, right? So, yes, you only have a finite amount of time, but you have to take time to figure out who those people are you want to invest in in terms of your business and your life. And for vendors and suppliers out there, it's the same thing. Just because these same MSPs show up at your shows and at your booth doesn't mean that they're the right ones for you. You know what I mean? You really need to think through it. And any relationship is an investment, and it will return something to you over time if you make the investment.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Yeah. Katherine, thank you. I've enjoyed this conversation. Where can people learn more about you?

Kathryn Rose
Well, you can go to channelwise.com. You can go on to my LinkedIn profile and connect with me on LinkedIn. And I'm sure I'll see folks around the channel. We have our next coaching cafe coming up in January, virtual one. Tim will be there. And then we will have the next physical one on the calendar is the channel Partners Expo in Las Vegas. So definitely come and check that out.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Awesome. I love it. Thank you for being so gracious with your time. Go check out channelwise.com. Love what they're doing. Those of you watching, listening, thank you. I appreciate you. If you want to connect with us, you can always do that over at rialtomarketing.com. The other thing I can also offer you is over at revenueroadblockscorecard.com. If you want to know which of the nine revenue roadblocks are slowing down your growth, you can do that in less than five minutes there. So go check it out, revenueroadblockscorecard.com. Thank you. Until next time.

Kathryn Rose
Thank you.

Tim Fitzpatrick
Take care.


Connect with Kathryn Rose


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About the author, Tim Fitzpatrick

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