Brian Tracy, a self-help author, has stated, “The value of a relationship is in direct proportion to the time that you invest in the relationship.” Today’s highly competitive and globalized business environment requires that we develop, nurture, and strengthen our professional relationships. After all, financial results only tell a portion of the story. To obtain insight behind the results or understand our clients’ needs, a relationship based on trust is necessary.
While professionals understand the importance of business relationships, not all relationships yield the intended benefits. Some personalities will inevitably clash, but the vast majority of business relationship failures may be attributed to a lack of investment in WIFM. The most important call letters in professional relationships, WIFM is an acronym for What’s In it For Me.
Many business professionals are conditioned by training or culture to focus on themselves and their firms and neglect to place the primary emphasis on the customer. In this brief article, seven tips are provided to foster relationships.
- Don’t be a stranger. Say hello or good morning to colleagues as you never know who you may encounter in your future endeavors.
- People love to talk about themselves. Don’t talk about yourself but ask questions that focus on your customers.
- Remember unique characteristics about people. It solidifies your claim that you are a good listener.
- Don’t forget the power of reciprocation.
- People pay less attention to you than you think – unless you are an outlier. Henceforth, take the initiative to get to know someone.
- Get involved in community events. Not only do you help a good cause, but you have an opportunity to network.
- You know less than you think you do – even if you are aware of this point. Be humble and yet knowledgeable and your customers will respect you for it.
The seven tips listed above are not intended to fit like a custom tailored suit. Everyone’s personality is different and that is part of the reason why interpersonal skills are as important as they are. Yet, with genuine application of some of these tips, we may all benefit in our business relationships.