In business and in life, relationships matter, which is why we must pay more attention to building relationships.
It is said that business is about relationships and I reckon it’s difficult to grow a business without strong relationships. Relationships with your staff, with your customers, with your prospects and with your suppliers.
So what is it about relationships that have the potential to create so much joy and yet people fear the outcome and remain an introvert. Why don’t people who deal with the public put relationships as the focus for each day? A smile, a courtesy, a thank you.
I was recently talking with somebody new to business who realises that the basis of business is relationships. She was fearful of taking a business forward because she admitted that she didn’t know how to create relationships. The sort of person who avoids networking events for instance.
Perhaps she thinks this is something complicated. Certainly, a lack of confidence or low self-esteem will have an impact on the way we are approach talking to people.
I’ve found some simple truths that allow me to create rapport with most people and the start of a relationship with many.
Abandon the agenda.
This is especially prevalent at a networking meeting but not so much in the supermarket queue. Enter into conversations out of genuine interest and curiosity. All too often at networking meetings, I come across people who put up a facade of being engaged yet, in reality, they are not listening – simply waiting to speak. They have an agenda and it’s easy to guess what it is after a few minutes. Good conversationalists ditch the agenda and make the other person feel that they are the only person in the room.
… rather than interesting. Be genuinely interested in who you are talking with. When I see someone with a supermarket trolly full of party food and drink my first thought is that maybe they’re having a party. It’s easy to say, ‘looks like someone is in for a good party.’ It’s easy to engage people if you are interested and you stay curious.
… goes a long way and especially when people least expect it. Showing appreciation is good practice for developing relationships. We all love to feel appreciated and the biggest reason customers become ex-customers rarely has anything to do with price or the competition. They feel they are being taken for granted.
When was the last time you spoke to your best clients and showed some appreciation? OK, a challenge if you have few hundred, but what’s stopping you getting your virtual PA or a telemarketer to schedule the calls. Let’s not say it can’t be done – find a way.
Rebecca Cross is an Award Winning Virtual PA. Her background experience working with IBM and the Wall Street Journal provides invaluable experience. She specialises in providing creative business and administration support for entrepreneurs and business owners who understand the value of working on their business, rather than in their business. She is especially looking to work with business start-ups, entrepreneurs, and professionals who travel extensively.