Seth Godin had a brilliant post yesterday. As it often is, it was short, succinct and to the point:
"The right answer might not be the best thing you can say.
Perhaps it would be better if you could help your friend take action instead. The acts of finding and doing are almost always more useful than getting good advice.
Inciting action is often better than contributing insight. Better to move forward and figure it out than to stand still and believe you know the right answer."
As I read the post, I couldn't help but think how much this advice applies to building a relationship with potential clients or customers. So often we work hard trying to say the right thing, share a brilliant insight, or be thought leaders. In all of our effort we miss the point.
What our potential clients or customers want is help fulfilling their needs or desires. They want someone to help them accomplish their goals. If you can provide them tangible help every time you communicate with them, you'll build a stronger relationship than you ever could by simply trying to be a thought leader.