Companies, entrepreneurs, and employees are spending a lot of time, money, and energy on trying to figure out what makes them different. It’s an honorable pursuit. What makes anyone or anything stand out more than the next? Most marketers will answer that question by referring (in one way or another) to the 4 ‘P’s’: Price. Product. Placement. Promotion. But what about the 1 ‘R?’: Relationships.
In a world that is becoming more and more detached, virtual, and hands-off, what if the thing that makes you the best is merely your ability to build authentic relationships? Simple concept, not easy to do.
That’s what makes where I work so successful, is its focus on developing genuine relationships. Again, not an easy thing to do in a competitive landscape like recruiting. But it’s something that is ingrained in every employee.
No matter what your job is, you’re going to deal with difficult people. People won’t respond, they’ll be impatient, demanding, and have unrealistic expectations. The thing that will make your relationship with them successful won’t come down to how good your product is, how much it costs, or how many times you can expose them to what you’re selling, it will largely depend on how well you have been able to win their attention and earn their trust.
This, of course, begs the question: “how does one win someone’s attention and earn someone’s trust?” Answer: cookies and data!
Now, this may be an oversimplification of a larger lesson, but, at the very least, it’s a memorable one. Here’s what I mean when I say that “cookies and data” are the keys to building genuine relationships:
1) Clients have lives, too. They have families, friends, bosses, responsibilities, fears, doubts, and insecurities. Go into every interaction with this in mind and you’ll already be well on your way to understanding them.
2) Most people really like themselves. So let them talk about themselves. What are they passionate about? What do they talk about?
3) This is where the cookies come in. Show them that you were listening. Treat them to something. Add in a ‘nice touch’ that makes you memorable.
4) Then bring the data. Show them how you are adding value. Provide evidence and insight into how you have been able to help and why it matters.
Building lasting relationships that pay off time and time again doesn’t have to be difficult. It takes time and it requires caring. But most importantly, it takes putting aside your own agenda for the sake of building something genuine.