Relationship Selling: 5 Ultimate Growth Catalyst for Startups with Eric Martindale

For any emerging startup, building a solid customer base is about much more than a savvy sales pitch; it’s the relationships fostered behind the scenes that often spell the difference between a flash in the pan and long-term success.

According to a study by Gallup, fully engaged customers represent a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, and revenue compared to the average customer. These statistics speak to the transformative power of investment in people over sheer product promotion.

A big compass pointing towards the word SALES

In the dynamic arena of sales, establishing rapport and trust with clients is key to unlocking the potential of any burgeoning enterprise. This truth was told in the journey of Eric Martindale, CEO of Elite Commerce GroupLet’s explore the indispensable value of human connections in the digital marketplace and how startups can catalyze growth by investing in relationships right from the outset.

The Foundation of Harnessing Relationships in Sales

Eric Martindale’s military background instilled in him principles like discipline and a strong sense of teamwork, which have become cornerstone traits in his second act as an entrepreneur. In the same way that a platoon’s success depends on the bonds between its members, Eric recognized early that the success of a business venture often hinges on the strength of its relationships with clients and partners.

At the heart of relationship selling lies the understanding that transactions are not merely exchanges of currency for goods or services, but opportunities to build lasting partnerships. It’s about seeing beyond the immediate sale to the potential of a loyal customer base that feels heard, respected, and valued.

The Evolution of Professional Networking

Starting a new venture often means venturing into uncharted territory. For Eric, this meant building a professional network from scratch. The transition from a structured military environment to the sometimes-chaotic world of business required a new kind of strategic maneuvering—one centered around building alliances and fostering mutually beneficial relationships.

Eric leaned heavily into giving rather than taking. He cultivated his network by offering assistance and sharing knowledge, creating a community that thrived on reciprocity and shared success. By investing his efforts into understanding and contributing to the needs of others, Eric laid down the blueprint for what would become a thriving digital commerce agency.

Giving Value to Gain Trust

One of the recurring themes in Eric’s approach is the principle of ‘giving to gain’. Time and again, he’s prioritized providing value over immediate sales pitches, a method that’s built a steady foundation of trust with his clientele. By offering tutorials, guides, and insights without cost, he demonstrates a commitment to service that transcends the expectation of immediate return.

Eric’s approach to customer relationships is akin to sowing seeds without immediate expectation of bloom. It’s this patience and belief in the compounding interest of goodwill that’s helped Elite Commerce Group bloom in competitive ecommerce landscapes.

The Power of Strategic Patience

YES! Patience is a strategic element in relationship selling just as much as persistence. Eric’s method illustrates the art of balancing salesmanship with the understanding that not every interaction will end with a closed deal—and not every deal needs to close immediately.

By nurturing prospects and guiding them through the value his services could add to their enterprises, Eric has created an environment where sales are a natural progression of the relationship, rather than a forced eventuality. The proof is in the “hot list” of prospects he mentioned—a list not just warm with potential, but primed for successful conversions.

Result-Driven Relationship Strategies for Startups

As we’ve explored Eric Martindale’s journey and philosophies, it becomes clear that startups can significantly benefit from a focus on relationship-building. But how can new businesses implement these insights in a way that is both genuine and strategic? Here are some practical steps:

  • Identify Key Influencers: Early in your journey, identify the key influencers within your industry who can help amplify your message. Focus on building genuine relationships with them.
  • Provide Unconditional Value: Just as Eric shared valuable resources freely, find ways your startup can offer help, advice, or content without immediate expectations. This builds trust and showcases your expertise.
  • Engage Consistently: Whether through social media, email newsletters, or events, ensure your startup maintains regular, meaningful engagement with your community. Remember, consistency fosters reliability.
  • Listen and Adjust: Be receptive to feedback from your network and use it to refine your approach. Showing that you value and act on feedback can strengthen your relationships further.
  • Invest in CRM Tools: Utilize customer relationship management (CRM) tools to keep track of interactions, preferences, and feedback. This will help you personalize your outreach and services, making your connections feel even more valued.


It becomes evident that the axiom “relationships are everything” holds particularly true in the realm of startups. This human-centric approach to commerce, characterized by patience, value-giving, and strategic engagement, serves not only to elevate your business but also enriches your entrepreneurial journey with genuine connections.

Incorporating these relationship-building strategies does not require a complete overhaul of your business model but instead, calls for a shift in perspective towards long-term gains and sustainable growth. By prioritizing relationships, your startup can navigate the choppy waters of the business world with a steady and impactful presence that resonates well beyond the immediate sale.

This blog is done from the episode of Sales Made Easy Podcast with Eric Martindale, a seasoned entrepreneur and the CEO of Elite Commerce Group. His expertise spans the eCommerce world, offering a beacon for startups looking to navigate the complexities of digital sales and marketing.

For those eager to delve deeper into the strategies that have driven Eric’s success and could potentially propel your startup to new heights, consider connecting with him on LinkedIn. His profile not only serves as a resource for further learning but also as a gateway to engaging with a community of like-minded professionals looking to transform the landscape of modern commerce.

Remember, in the quest for startup success, relationships are not just a strategy; they are the bedrock of enduring growth and innovation.