Hatchett PR

creativity, culture, community

Business Building: Are There Termites In Your Relationships?

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” Henry Winkler

The other day I ran across this quote and it started me thinking about my relationships.  Am I building strong foundations?   Or in some cases am I ignoring the work altogether?

Last week I was asked to participate in a phone research survey for a well-known media outlet.  Since I’ve worked with this outlet for many years, I agreed to give my time, and what I thought would be helpful information.  The lady conducting the survey kept asking me questions for which there was no easy answer.   I tried to “explain” my answers and she became increasingly annoyed.  Finally she told me that she had no way to take details, and asked if I could just please respond with yes or no. I told her that was not possible and she decided to end the conversation.  No wonder they are in trouble!   Can the information this company needs to develop meaningful change in their business model really fit into a black and white, yes or no questionnaire?  A questionnaire developed, executed and analyzed by an outside organization, which has no relationship to the media company’s customers.  Over the last few years I’ve gotten the impression that most companies don’t know or care about their customers.  I suspect this spills over to their bottom lines.

In a world where there are so many tools and technologies allowing you to create greater and more connections, why is it that many companies and their representatives don’t have real relationships with their customers?  How can you partner with someone if you don’t really know them and how they define success?

Here are just a few ideas for creating better relationships:

  • Stay Connected.  Spend a little time each week calling or emailing contacts when you don’t have something to promote or sell to them. Make your call or note brief since people are busy. Check in to see what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
  • Get Informed.  Before you first meet a new client or business contact find out as much about their business as you can.  That way you can ask them questions which are pertinent to their company or service.  After you have established a relationship, stay up-to-date with your contact and their company’s changes and innovations.
  • Be Helpful.  Find out what your contact is trying to do and how you can help. Work in partnership with them to achieve success.
  • Be Interested. Learn something about the people around you, such as what their hobbies are, what kind of music they like, or if they are a cat or dog person.  In business situations this shouldn’t be too personal and of course you should steer away from controversial topics like religion or politics.
  • Keep Track.  Keep notes in your email calendar or database of important information such as birthdays or anniversaries with the company.
  • Be Grateful. When someone does something helpful, write them a thank you note or send them a small gift.
  • Give Praise.  In company meetings, include positive comments or praise for co-workers and management when appropriate to the situation.  Recognize people when goals are met and congratulate them.

How do you create and nurture your relationships?   I’d love to get your thoughts and input.

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