Legal Blog

The Art of Relationship Marketing

In recent years, the term “Business Development” quickly became synonymous with sales. However, this misuse of business development has been a disservice to business developers and the entire concept behind the position. Business developers should NOT serve as sales professionals. Instead, they should focus on building relationships with prospects, centers of influence, and clients.

Let me repeat that.

Business developers should focus on building relationships with prospects, centers of influence, and clients.

Now, don’t get me wrong, business development intends to help grow the business and bring in more work. The difference is that business developers are not solely working on racking up sales and closing business deals. Business developers are cultivating relationships that are mutually beneficial to the business and the other person involved.

What is relationship marketing?

Relationship marketing is when you develop a more meaningful connection with another professional. The goal of relationship marketing is not to directly sell a product or service to someone or acquire a new client but, rather, to consistently improve your connection with them over a long period of time.

What are the benefits of relationship marketing?

Relationship marketing is important for not only prospects but with centers of influence and current clients as well. Relationship marketing has numerous benefits, including increased client retention, satisfaction, brand loyalty, and word-of-mouth referrals.

According to Harvard Business Review, “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%”. By using relationship marketing, you build trust with your clients and provide value outside of your services, so they continue to engage with you in the long-term. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

How do I start relationship marketing?

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. And one of the best ways to build trust is to be as helpful as possible.

When practicing relationship marketing, you are NOT trying to sell them something or close the deal as soon as possible. On the contrary, you are focused on the person and what they need. Your goal should be to respect their time and provide as much value as possible. Be interested, not interesting.

“If you take a sincere interest in others, they’ll take a real interest in you. Build relationships. Don’t just collect them.” – Rebekah Radice

It’s no surprise that the most successful business developers are also some of the most generous people. Successful business developers offer their time and networks to help other people’s businesses grow and succeed.

Truly listen to the person you are talking to and understand what is important to them, what they are working towards, and what is keeping them up at night. If you know someone who can help them solve a problem or achieve their goals, make an introduction. Over time, you will build trust with this person and, eventually, will lead to a new client, whether it is them or another person from their network.


What else do you think makes a great relationship marketer? I want to know. Share your thoughts here »

Jim Ries-SmallDirector of Business Development | 410.209.6455

Offit Kurman is a full-service law firm with over 225 attorneys focused on representing privately-held businesses. With deep experience and knowledge dealing with the issues that business owners are regularly faced with, we bring value to every relationship. As Director of Business Development, Jim Ries drives revenue growth for Offit Kurman by helping business leaders and families of wealth address some their most difficult challenges. He also identifies and develops strategic partnerships and market opportunities. Jim has access to a deep network of attorneys in every practice area, and he is able to connect his clients to the right attorney who can resolve their legal disputes and protect their assets. Jim is a master networker, and his high-level connections call him for solutions when they don’t know who to call. Let Jim be your Google.





Offit Kurman is one of the fastest-growing full-service law firms in the United States. With 14 offices in seven states, and the District of Columbia, and growing by 50% in two years through expansions in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina, Offit Kurman is well-positioned to meet the legal needs of dynamic businesses and the individuals who own and operate them. For over 30 years, we’ve represented privately held companies and families of wealth throughout their business life cycles.

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