Better Relationships Drive Better Results
Think of the last time you needed to have something repaired in your house. Where was the first place you turned to find out who’s the best plumber in town? I would bet the farm that you turned to your social network for your answer. Why not just Google Best Plumbers in Atlanta (or whatever town you live in) and take your chances? It’s because we all like to get our information from the people we trust, the people we’ve built relationships with. In a world full of strangers we tend to turn to the people we trust in times of uncertainty. Trust is a powerful emotion that needs to be established and protected not just in your personal life but your professional one as well because relationships drive better results.
If you’re anything like me then you’re always on the lookout for best practices around building relationships. Fast Company’s recent “7 Key Habits For Building Better Relationships” offers great perspective on the topic. The tips outline by author Harvey Deutschendorf are as follows:
- Become a great listener
- Ask the right questions
- Pay attention to the whole person
- Remember things that are important to others
- Be consistent and manage emotions
- Be open and share when the time is right
- Be genuine, confident, humble, trustworthy, positive, and fun
As I review this list I see a few things I think I do well but many that I can definitely improve upon. I think the hardest one to master is tip #1, in fact, being a better listener is really a subject all to itself. I’m guilty of being very excited around the agenda I bring to a client meeting that I may blow past my client’s agenda. It’s important to enter into every call or interaction with a plan but you can’t be overly concerned about sticking to the script. If your client or prospect takes you in a different direction, go with it because you’ll never know where it may take you. The relationship with your clients is more like the Queen Mary and less like a speed boat. They both get you where you want to be but the former gets you there in style!
On the flip side, the one tip I always observe and take very seriously is around being consistent. It’s something we believe in and talk about a lot at Achieveit. When a new client comes on board, I conduct an orientation call to set the tone and set expectations. I clearly outline that I will never be the reason why they’ll miss an important deadline. I always say, “Lean on me as much or as little as you’d like. Treat me like an extension of your team.” I’m my client’s trusted partner and I’m completely invested in making sure my relationships drive better results.
What does this look like? Well, if you email me, I email you back. If you call me, I call you back and I do this consistently.
Why is this important? Most people, including myself, have extremely low expectations around customer service. They’re used to reaching out for help and getting no response. It’s the companies that go above and beyond that can build relationships with their customers. Those happy customers repay you with their repeat business and by telling their friends about you. This can all be achieved by being consistent.
Strong relationships drive better results. Take a look at the list above and identify where you’re strongest and weakest. Try and make a conscious effort to improve on one of your shortcomings this week and leverage one of your strengths to drive results.
[Photo: Flickr user Creative Sustainability]