Do you want to know how to build better relationships?
Great, then I’m going to share with you my Top 3 Ways to Build Better Relationships and how this can transform how you engage with your customers and how this can dramatically help your business.
For the purpose of this article, I’m going to use this purely in the business sense. This can also be used out of the working environment and used to form friendships or personal relationships and used well can have remarkable results.
So, whether you work in an online or offline (traditional) business, relationship building in business is part what you have to do to be successful, avoid it at your peril!
There are a very small cluster of professions that don’t have much contact with people; the majority of us have “customer contact” on a daily basis.
So, getting to know people and building relationships is a fundamental part of making your business a success. FACT!
Now, of course this is certainly required within a “business development”, “client relationship” and “customer service” environment. People can’t have a poor approach to relationship building here; after all, you (or your team) are the face of the business and in our competitive world, need to display THE best level of customer service is vital to your continuing success.
Before I tell you about what I do, here is a short story of what NOT to do!
Networking Meeting & How Not To Build Better Relationships
I attended a networking event a couple of years ago, before I was an online marketer. I started talking to a man who had a small website business. He seemed like a nice guy, came over and introduced himself and spent 10 minutes telling me about him, his business, how great he was, how cheap his websites were, how he could help me and my company blah blah blah.
I politely listened, nodded, smiled and then he gave me his card and walked away to talk to someone else in the room.
How interested was I…? well, in short, not very much.
Let’s assume that I was in the market for a new website, I want to ask you one question, just one, which will highlight specifically what is wrong with this approach. Ready, here it is: -
“Did he find out anything about my needs?”
No, absolutely not. None of the conversation was about me and my potential needs as a prospective customer. He talked at me for 10 minutes displaying the typical qualities all too familiar in poor salesmanship.
No relationship was build and following that meeting, I’ve not really thought about him, until I sat down to write this article.
What could have been his approach to get to know me and what I might need?
Well, here are my TOP 3 Ways, to help Build Better Relationships.
1. Ask questions
You‘d be amazed how many people in business just want to talk about themselves and never (and I mean that quite literally) ask questions of their audience. It’s no secret, your customers will enjoy talking about themselves but don’t make the mistake of our website guy, don’t TELL them everything about you, get to know THEM and about THEIR business. You will be amazed at the results.
Ask questions to get to understand the person you’re talking to. Start with something like “So, tell me a little about yourself?”, or “what sort of business are you in?” This will get someone talking about them self, what they do, where they work and so on.
There are a multitude of really great questions to ask someone, and if building relationships is of interest to you (and we’ll assume it is as you’ve read this far), then learn the difference between the following: -
- Open Questions
- Closed Questions
- Leading Questions
- Probing Questions
This will really help you to develop the skills needed to become really effective at getting to understand your customers.
2. Be a good listener
Listening is very much an under-utilised technique which hinders people from being more successful.
The bad sales person/customer service person often fail to listen to what’s being said and they don’t pick up on what the customer is saying, often disregarding their comments and focusing on what’s important to THEM, and not the CUSTOMER!
Put simply, being able to ACTIVELY listen to the answers to your questions (see point 1), and respond with the appropriate next step, is key to the next piece in the puzzle.
Listen to what your customer is saying to you, think of their motivation for that particular question and respond with agreement/a question/challenge as appropriate.
Make sure that whatever your response is; make sure it’s given with genuine sincerity. There is nothing worse than false comments, laughter or gestures.
3. Get to know your audience
Everyone has a hobby or interest. What’s yours?
Mine is motor racing. I could talk with enormous enthusiasm and passion about Formula 1 and MotoGP.
So, let’s assume we’re in a business-to-business sales environment and towards the end of the sales conversation, the person asking about me and my business asks something like this: -
“So Jamie, what sort of thing outside work do you enjoy?”
“Well, I’m into Formula 1 Grand Prix racing and will be watching the race on Sunday…. Etc, etc, etc.”
They’ve asked me about a passion of mine and something I’ll be quite happy to talk about, hence building a stronger relationship.
Now, the smart sales person will ask me next time we speak, “hasn’t the F1 been good recently, did you see the race at Monza…?”
This will allow me to talk more about my interest and further strengthen the relationship.
Whether or not I’m interested in their product, the sales person has taken time to get to know ME, not just trying to sell me their product or service and will definitely make the conversation more engaging that just talking about business.
Here is one of my favourite quotes, from one of my favourite books.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie
Mr Carnegie was absolutely right; I’ve written a short blog on him too, you can read it HERE.
Now, I’d go as far as to say that this approach isn’t just limited to making friends, and can certainly be used to great effect to build relationships too.
What do you think?
Until next time, here’s to your continuing success.
Read the full blog here: -