empathy and compassion

Why You Need to Treat Your Business Relationships Personally

Relationships: Personal, business and customer are all the same.  Sure the intent is different but when it comes down to how we make those connect, it doesn’t really matter the situation, because people are people. And to connect with people, it’s important to understand it’s an emotional exercise and it’s always taken personally.

A friend of mine recently said, “dating is like real estate.” That might feel like a weird thing to say to those outside the realty world but really the fundamentals and what you need to focus on are really the same. There’s courting of sellers and buyers, there’s lots of communication (or not), there’s shallow needs versus long time plans…I can see why my friend compared the two.

And it made me think that really the tools to start and maintain a relationship are always the same. Sure the particular audience might be different (ie I probably have different relationship needs than a 25 year old woman) but the fundamentals shouldn’t change. To prove this, I went to my AMAZING personal network on Facebook to ask a question.

(These people could not be more different in location, interests, vocations, etc. but their commonality is that they provide amazingly valuable ideas and comments. Love them.)

To confirm the basics of building relationships is universal, I asked this…

The Question:

What’s your secret to keeping a lasting, meaningful and strong relationship? 

The Answers:

  • There’s a time to step in and a time to step out. Understand the situation and find the best action. 
  • Get coaching – professional and personal.
  • Don’t focus on any argument, conflict, etc. Spend the time being curious, asking questions to better understand the situation.
  • Remember things they’ve told you about themselves.
  • Be honest.
  • Speak up.
  • Know there is more than one way to do something.
  • Be interested in the other person.
  • Ask for their input.
  • Listen to what they say, without judgement and even if you disagree.
  • Let them know they’ve been heard.
  • Remember a touch point to build from in your past.
  • Be genuine, considerate and respectful.
  • Don’t let your our own “stuff” get in the way.
  • Make them feel like no time has passed and pick up right where you left off.
  • Stay in touch and involved in their lives, even if it’s a quick hello.
  • Put the other person’s interest ahead of our own.
  • Understand boundaries.
  • Don’t keep score.
  • Communication!
  • Put the other person’s interest ahead of our own.
  • Focus on the needs of the relationship rather than your own.
  • Drop the ego.
  • Care about the other person.
  • Admit you’re wrong.
  • Ask forgiveness.
  • Be present, in the moment.
  • Make sure they know you’re in their corner no matter what.
  • Be open and authentic.
  • Have intent. Choose to be in the relationship work at it.
  • Tolerance. Nobody’s Perfect.
  • Practice patience
  • Put the effort into it.
  • Be there would they need you.
  • Close mouth, open ears.
  • Understand their story.

My Answer:

I make sure to touch base with people as often as I can. Even if it’s just a comment/like on a post or a “happy milestone” to show I’m aware of their lives. As well, I always try to be available and approachable so people know they can connect with me even if we haven’t had a conversation in years. I’m grateful that many of my connections frequently reach out to me no matter how much time has passed.

As you can see from this fantastic list, understanding that our actions, inactions and our words have real, emotional and personal impacts can go a long way to helping build connections and trust.

If you want to build real relationships with customers, they can’t be treated as customers, as a business, as a dollar sign, as an obstacle, as a means to an end…customers are savvy enough to know when you have an ulterior motive. They have to be valued as you would a good friend.

And they’ll treat you the same, with customer loyalty.

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1 thought on “Why You Need to Treat Your Business Relationships Personally”

  1. Absolutely agree Russel! People are people, and relationships with people are all that matters – in business the same as in private life!

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