We tend to take our cars for tune-ups quite regularly. This is even easier to do when our cars send us reminders, as some of the newer cars do. Too bad we don’t have something similar to remind us that we need a relationship tune-up. Because neglecting to tune-up our business relationships can be risky—and harder to repair than a car.
When you meet someone for the first time, it’s only natural to look for things that you have in common. After all, that’s how relationships (both business and professional) are formed. But have you ever given thought to seeking out your uncommon commonalities?
Do you know what your customer treasures—what really matters to that individual? And perhaps more importantly, do you understand why you need to know this? Selling is a thinking person’s game. In essence you are trying to solve someone else’s problems. You can’t do this unless you understand exactly what those problems are, the ramifications of those problems, and the issues surrounding them. How can you learn this vital information? By asking your customers.
13 has always been a lucky number for me. I was born on April 13 and my first football jersey number at Sherwood Junior High in Memphis Tennessee was #13. This month Delta Point, Inc. is celebrating its 13th year anniversary as a company. It hardly seems possible that it’s been 13 years since my wife Maryann and I started this business out of our home office.
My friend Mark was rereading my book The Relationship Edge in Business when he dropped it. As he reached to pick it up, it opened to the copyright page—and that’s when he happened to notice that it was published in 2004. Recognizing that this meant it was the 10th anniversary of its publication prompted him to contact me. That serendipitous event served as an impetus for me to reflect about why I felt the need to write this bestselling book in the first place.
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." [George Bernard Shaw] How true! It’s no wonder that so much of our time at work is spent clarifying or fixing what has been miscommunicated.
Building business relationships is not an item that appears on most people’s to-do list. But perhaps it should be. While some might struggle with how to justify taking time away from “work” to devote their effort to building relationships, there are some plausible reasons to do so. Perhaps the best reason is that you can’t get your job done effectively without them.
Building a relationship requires time. That simple concept is widely accepted. So I was really curious when I read Michael Simmons’ blog To Create a Real Connection, Show Vulnerability in which he cited research about developing a relationship in 45 minutes.