Transaction versus Relationship Selling
How you choose to market your business or product can make a big difference in the success of your marketing campaigns. Whether you choose a transactional or relational marketing campaign depends on the type of business and products that you are selling and what type of customer you intend to attract. A one-time sale needs different marketing techniques than attracting customers who will return for many purchases and remain loyal to your business. In most cases, a blend of both transactional and relational marketing is used.
Transactional marketing campaigns focus on the actual sales process for an item. The emphasis is put on making the sale and may include aggressive sales techniques that eventually alienate the customer. A applicable example of a transactional marketing campaign is a sales presentation for a time-share vacation home. The salesperson concentrates only on closing the sale.
Relational marketing attempts to create a relationship between the customer and the salesperson or business. Because of the relationship, customers will feel a loyalty to the business and return for future purchases. Relational marketing is important for large purchases like purchasing a car or home, but pure relational marketing runs the risk of building a relationship without closing the sale.
Transactional marketing is most appropriately applied to one-time purchases where a hard sell is necessary to close the sale. For a one-time sale, there is no expectation that the customer would return for repeat business, so closing the sale with a hard sell is possibly the best choice. However, a hard sale tactic would annoy customers at the supermarket and discourage repeat business. Repeat business situations call for relational marketing and gentle point-of-sale techniques.
Finding Middle Ground
Most businesses use a mixture of relational and transactional marketing. The salesperson attempts to build a relationship with each customer while still attempting to close the sale. It is important to know your customer and communicate with them effectively. Customers may have differing expectations from relationships. Many customers would be delighted to be addressed by name and treated like family every time they enter a restaurant, others might wish to remain anonymous and be left alone. The most effective position is to read the customer well and follow his lead.