Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Building good relationships is at the core of most SUCCESS. Whether it’s a romantic partner, friend, or colleague, relationships can be a source of support, contacts, warmth and much more. Business relationships are key for making progress and achieving career SUCCESS. Tdoay Robin Jay is my guest. After more than 18 years as an Advertising Account Manager, she began her current career as an author, speaker, and coach. She shares some insight about building good relationships from her book, The Art of the Business Lunch (Career Press).

Why Building Relationships Beats Sales Training
by Robin Jay

We all have a neighborhood store that’s just around the corner from our house. Whenever I’m speaking before an audience, I ask if anyone in the room has ever gone out of their way – regularly passing by that neighborhood store, traveling a bit farther down the road to another, different store…sometimes even paying more for whatever they needed…JUST BECAUSE they didn’t like the way they were treated at that other, closer store. EVERY hand goes up.

Heads nod and hands go up because we ALL want to feel special. And even though a particular store may have better pricing or be more convenient, we, as consumers, will go out of our way to patronize another business because we LIKE THE WAY THE PEOPLE MAKE US FEEL somewhere else. People prefer to do business with people they like!

I am a business relationship expert who personally hosted more than 3,000 client lunches and, as a result of that, I saw my sales increase by more than 2,000%! It’s remarkable just how much people want to work with you when you take the time to build a solid relationship.

Corporate America spends more than 4 BILLION dollars training its sales people every year! (source: ES Research). Yet, although giving people a rah-rah motivational speech will usually result in a bump in productivity…that bump rarely lasts longer than 90-120 days! However, when you build solid, productive business relationships, the effect is similar to the ripple effect you get when you drop a pebble into a pond. The ripples continue to generate and flow outward….with no end in sight. Your new associates, once they like you, will bring you into their inner circle and in no time at all, their friends will become your friends. Your business will be booming – while others experience the peaks and valleys as dictated by the economy, trends and budgets.

Shortly after I took one of my clients out for an absolutely delightful lunch at Cili – a restaurant on the edge of the Bali Hai Golf Course in Las Vegas, she had a serious budget cut. She cut out every other vendor but ME! Socializing with your clients is one of the best ways to get to know them and build rapport.

While it’s true that you can’t MAKE people like you, you can certainly learn techniques to move a relationship along in the right direction. For starters, make it about them. Ask others about what is going on in THEIR lives. Contribute to the conversation as needed, and don’t be too intrusive. But work at making them feel special and they will respond positively. Think about it…when was the last time someone took you out to lunch and made it all about you? Did they ask what you are up to? What are YOU working on? How can they help YOU? If they did, I’m sure you’d be anxious to see them again! It’s really not that hard to build great business relationships! Just think about how YOU would like to be treated.

Dr. Tony Alessandra talks about the Platinum Rule: treat others how THEY want to be treated. That makes great sense, too. We are each different. While one person may enjoy a nice social lunch, another might prefer to keep to themselves. In that case, you might want to drop off a good book, (or a gift card to the book store), along with a dozen doughnuts to your client at their office.

I used to show up with food a LOT! It’s a great way to get a foot in the door and make friends with the “rejectionist” as we laughingly called many receptionists who took their job as gate-keepers way too seriously! Thanks to the internet or a warmed-up receptionist, it’s easier than ever to find out a person’s likes and dislikes.

I remember one client who loved Teuscher’s champagne truffles. The exorbitant treats were always on her desk…and reps who paid attention quickly learned of that client’s preferences. Show up with those truffles and you would not just get an audience with that client, but you’d be well on your way to building a lasting friendship. Believe it or not, most reps are not that thoughtful. So a little consideration goes a long way – especially when it comes to building business relationships! It shows you care…and who doesn’t appreciate that?

Focus your attention on building solid business relationships and it won’t be long before you start to reap the rewards. Remember, people prefer to do business with people they like….so always try to be likeable and give others a reason to get to know you better.

For more information about Robin Jay, check out her site.

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