“GuanXi” is a Mandarin Chinese term that describes the business relationship between two or more parties. “Guan” means “close together,” and “Xi” means “relationship.”
A GuanXi relationship is always built on trust that has developed over time. It helps you keep loyal customers in the long run, maintain a profitable business, and compete successfully in a competitive marketplace. Almost all Chinese businesspeople consider GuanXi to be one of their most important sales and marketing tools.
In terms of Web marketing, GuanXi is similar to one-to-one marketing and personalization. When you design a new Web site or launch a new online marketing campaign, you build a customer profile for each of your new customers and capture as much information as possible for future marketing campaigns. GuanXi takes the customer profile in your database through a few more steps to ensure long-term success:
- You sincerely call your customers to say, “Hi,” to discuss their business, and to understand their business needs.
- You provide professional advice and share your point of view regarding the industry.
- You invite your customers to lunch, dinner, or a special event, especially those customers who give you the most business referrals, establishing a very close relationship with them.
- You send them a very nice and thoughtful gift on special occasions such as New Year’s, Christmas, or other holidays, just to remind them that you are thinking of them.
- You follow up with other kinds of notes, emails, or phone calls to update them on what’s happening on your end and how your products or services have helped them in the past.
- You treat your customers as good friends, with trust and sincerity.
It sounds like a very time-consuming process, and it is. But when you invest your valuable time into continuously communicating with your customers, you create mutual understanding and build close relationships.
Asian businesspeople take GuanXi seriously when negotiating business deals because GuanXi saves time when doing credit or background checks. GuanXi facilitates the business process and increases the likelihood of your company’s ultimate success.
All online marketers should develop an intimate customer relationship with their online visitors. I’m not talking about installing customer relationship management (CRM) software and letting it run all the reports and perform all the analyses; I’m talking about taking the time to understand individual consumer behavior.
When do your customers like to shop on your site? What kinds of products do they like? Do you know their birthdays? Why don’t you send them a birthday card?
You may say, “Vivian, how can I build the same level of GuanXi with millions of customers in my database?” Good question! In that case, use your CRM solutions for all of your customers, and select the most profitable target group for your personal GuanXi marketing campaign. This will help you create a unique one-to-one business relationship with important customers and maximize your business profits in the long term.
For example, say you visit your company’s intranet first thing every morning. After logging in to your account, you see “Good morning, [your first name]! How are you doing?” “Have a wonderful day at work!” This makes employees aware that they’re not thought of as numbers but, rather, as human beings. This is how GuanXi can work for a large corporation with an intranet.
Here’s another example. You visit a shopping site after a long day of work. While sitting at your desk, facing your computer screen, you read the following: “[Your first name], shopping late this evening? Would you like a quick virtual tour of our store? We have your favorite chicken soup on sale. Want to buy some?” These few simple lines would cheer me up. How about you? You may suddenly feel the empathy of a “humanized” user interface. This Web site knows what you are doing and how you feel while you are sitting in front of your computer!
We are all human, after all. We love it when others respect our feelings, remember our birthdays and anniversaries, and understand our needs. Why don’t you try to build a close, long-term relationship with your customers using GuanXi? You may not only attract new foreign clients, but you may also maintain a loyal client base for long-term success. Let me know how your GuanXi marketing campaign goes in the future.