The best way to establish a relationship with customers is to understand who your customers are and what is important to them. Once that is established a marketing or promotional plan can be devised to begin developing a relationship with your customers.
If a financial planner, for example, new to a community wanted to establish a relationship with customers, he or she might try to develop a few relationships outside of business. By joining a church, civic, or social group a small network could be established to build upon. Additionally, look for ways to seek out new relationships. If a financial planner wanted to target teachers, she might try being visible at a school campus and showing up with deserts in the teacher's lounge. An alternate route could be sponsoring a local sports team and then being visible at a few games to meet the parents. Anything that can be done to build a few relationships.
The next step would be to network those existing relationships to build a business of referrals. Once you have established a few successful business connections, seek out ways to help their friends and family to broaden your network. In doing so, cultivate those new relationships in a way that you could seek referrals from them.
It is much easier said than done, but if you can use a grassroots effort to build relationships and parlay those relationships into a referral network, there is a great chance to have a successful business.