When I was a kid, my dad would make a game out of grocery shopping. Each week he would scour the newspaper and make note of who had the best price on stewed tomatoes, 2% milk, round steak, toilet paper, and the rest of his shopping list. Then on Saturday morning, he and my mom would go on a grocery scavenger hunt. Sometimes a store would only be good for an item or two, then on to the next. Any store that scored the lion’s share of my dad’s list probably wasn’t going to be around long.

For my dad, groceries were a commodity, and he was strictly a transactional buyer. No loyalty, the lowest price won. But when it came to more important purchases like fishing gear, tools or trucks, my dad knew the businesses he could trust- and the siren song of a lower price somewhere else wasn’t going to sway him.

I was reminded of this “game” when I saw yet another post asking which website generated the best results.

We’re trained to use the internet for price shopping.

On the internet, everything is flattened to be a commodity, and as such, the lowest price wins. Every time! And it doesn’t matter if it’s pickups or pasta sauce. Advertising that reduces a business to inventory pictures and prices alongside the competitions’ only works for the one committed to being the cheapest.

Funny thing is, when it comes to purchasing something significant, most people are more concerned about not making a bad decision than paying too much. They put a greater emphasis on finding businesses that share their values that they have an affinity for and they know they can trust.

Relational marketing attracts buyers that are more trusting and willing to pay more. When the attraction is price alone, price drives all decisions. With relational marketing, the customer is more at ease and more likely to accept your recommendations. They tend to view the process more favorably, which leads to higher satisfaction, customer loyalty, and referrals.

Instead of asking which website drives the most traffic, you may want to consider asking how you can earn the trust of customers before they need you and how you can inspire loyalty that leads to a lifetime of referrals.

Want to put the power of relational marketing to work for you?