Professionals in any business — regardless of their function, level or reporting structure — benefit from the ability to effectively present a point of view, sell to new customers or grow existing relationships. Developing these skills helps with everything from getting a reluctant child down for a nap, making an employee a teammate, and turning a natural-born networker into a value-driving asset for customers and clients alike.
Managing relationships and how others perceive you is key to putting these skills to good use. Particularly in this age of social media, the principles of relationship management have never been more important. While the traditional outlook that you are not only representing yourself, but also your family, company and other organizations at any given time still holds true, authenticity is even more important as the ripple effect of social media can reach a broader audience — for better or worse — than ever before.
This tenet is not just for those in a business development or sales role, but anyone who is client facing, a member of a team, engages with others socially, or is looking to grow personally or professionally. It is important to strive to always be your best self and constantly be aware that while the person with whom you are speaking may not be a direct customer, client or prospect, she may be your next referral source (or not, depending on her experience with you).
Looking ahead to Q2 and Q3 of 2019 with the intent of growing your business, client list or centers of influence, consider these tips to make some headway in relationship building:
- Know your audience and connect in a meaningful way. Do some research before going to an event; understand who you will be in front of and any potential connections to make your time together more meaningful.
- Set achievable goals to make new introductions and hold yourself accountable. Continually connect with individuals who increase your exposure to new people and to learning new things, e.g., ‘I will set two lunches with new contacts per week.’
- Follow a value-driven “sales” progression. Sell yourself; sell the need for a service, product or idea; sell your company or solution.
- Have an authentic, unique identity. Be a person who is excited about something (or many things!). People relate to others who are passionate, even if the topic isn’t their favorite ‘thing’ or activity.
- Develop and project strong values. Strive to exude credibility, trust, loyalty, generosity, responsibility and consideration — and be confident in your interactions, always showing interest.
- Ask for help and guidance from leaders and mentors. Gaining access can be a tough barrier and is rarely accomplished without others’ generous collaboration.
- Always provide value first where possible. Make introductions or provide a service for others, and it will build a strong foundation for a relationship in the future.
- Develop a 30-second elevator pitch. Create a concise and consistent message to use at events to introduce yourself and connect with new people.
- Have fun. Get involved in new organizations; try your hand at not-for-profit and industry groups. You likely will meet some wonderful new people.
- Remember people’s names. Say it when you first meet: “Nice to meet you, Peter.” Say it once during the conversation: “Peter, that’s an interesting point.” Then say it when you part ways: “I’ve enjoyed our conversation, Peter, and look forward to following up.”
Any discussion of personal and professional growth should also include literature that can help teach and serve as a guide to networking and relationships. There are many great business and personal development books that can help improve networking, enhance productivity, manage work/life balance and build a personal brand. Here are a few pieces to check out:
- Never Eat Alone, by Keith Ferrazzi
- Building A Story Brand, by Donald Miller
- The 4 Hour Work Week, by Timothy Ferriss
- The Sales Bible, by Jeffery Gitomer
- How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships, by Leil Lowndes
No matter your approach to developing business or promoting your company or yourself in the best light, remember to be genuine and sincere. When you truly love what you do and what you represent, it’s an unbeatable way to put your best foot forward.
Please contact a member of your service team or contact Woods King at firstname.lastname@example.org for further discussion.
Cohen & Company is not rendering legal, accounting or other professional advice. Information contained in this post is considered accurate as of the date of publishing. Any action taken based on information in this blog should be taken only after a detailed review of the specific facts, circumstances and current law.