Posts Tagged relationship management

Building Lifelong Customer and Friend Relationships

In the past, to succeed in business, salespeople had to work 80% of their time prospecting new market and only 20% of their time working on their relationship management. Today, it’s all different. To succeed in business, to create more life opportunities, you need to work mainly at creating, developing, and managing your relationships. Forget about the vendor etiquette you once heard it’s good to post on the front head, now, in today competitive market, you have to be the partner, the friend.

As a company executive, salesperson, or simply as an individual, what do you think your most valuable asset really is? Researches have shown that the most valuable asset today is your relationship. Building lifelong relationship is the most rewarding task you can do for yourself and for your company today.

How do you position yourself in your customer/friends mind?

  • What would be the dominant perception? Everything in today’s world is perception. That is why the way you are perceive can either help you or hurt you, absolutely everything when it comes to perception counts. What attributes would your customers/friends use if we were to wake them up at 4 o’clock in the morning and ask them what they think about you?
    To build lifelong customer/friends relationships, we want to make sure to be  perceived as following:
  1. You constantly work at improving their life or business
  2. You are always there when they need you and help solving their problems
  3. You are a strategic thinker, helping them to see what they can be in the future
  4. You understand their situations.
  • Once the dominant perception is done, the next step you want to work on is your personal positioning. Stop fooling yourself, people go along with you according to the position you have in their mind and the image you reflect. Here are some qualifications they judge you on:
  1. Trust – Do you position yourself or your company as someone or a company we can trust. we can count on, and that is reliable?
  2. Domain of expertise – Which area are you r your company expert in? When you position yourself as expert in one domain, the good thing is that once someone is in need of that expertise, it’s your name that will pop out instantly.
  3. Customer/Friend knowledge – Whatever the type of relationship you have withpeople, for that relationship to win the test of time, you need to show the persons or the company that you care about them. Genuine interest here is important. How much do you know of the other person? How much do you of the company you want to win the business? And it’s so easy to show someone that you care about him. Simply ask questions, give feedbacks, double check with them, give recommendations.
  4. Professional position – Always remember people around you, even if they do not say so, want to be successful and the one way they look at getting there is to walk with people who are successful. Even if humility is a great appreciated quality, telling about your title and achievements at work or telling about the market share of your company and how long you’ve been in business will definitely help in giving you credit and making you legit. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it by yourself, then you can let people tell about you using testimonials for instance.
  5. Professionalism – We tend to believe sometimes that professionalism is only good when we are at work. Well, at home, at a social event, in transport, the way you handle yourself counts. The way you carry yourself counts. the way you behave around people counts. No need to say how even more important it is in a working environment.

People, today, buy the result they will benefit from being in relationship with you. If their profit of being in relationship with you is high, the demands of that relationship are low, you show that you care about them, people will always keep up with you. Also, if you find a way to constantly serve your friends/customers and friends’ friends/customers’ customers, then you will always be part of their closed circles. Just like the life and sales expert, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said: you can have anything in live you want if you can help enough others get what they want.

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How To Become More Outgoing

On the 4th of July week-end, I had friends over at my new house for barbecue. As we were talking, one of my friend brought up an issue she has hard time to deal with: how to become more outgoing. I must confess, when you are born with that talented skill of being naturally outgoing, life can definitely be a lot easier for you. But for those of you who are not gifted in that field, don’t worry. You can learn to be more outgoing and the benefit behind it will be more exciting social life, and also you will see better professional opportunities comming your way.

Now, let me skip the bla-bla-bla and go straight to the point keeping it all short and simple. You want to be more outgoing?

  1. First, be more self-confident: That might sound crazy to you as you read it but the one reason why people stay at home is because they are not confident enough that they’ll be accepted to enter the places they actually want to go. Let me be more precised here. When I talk about acceptance, I mean being accepted as you are. So here, you definitely want to pump up your confiddence level to the point that you believe you are welcome anywhere you want to go. Is it a five-star restaurant and only high class get in there and are screened? well, that’s you. Is it a seminar that merely top executives attend? Well, it sounds like you. Bottom line is that you must be self-confident enough that you deserve to be out at those places you want to go.
  2. Get out of your house: You want to be more outgoing? well, get out of your house and go some places. So many times you will see people who hide behind false beliefs such as :”Oh! I am not an ongoing person.” Well, truth is that even if you are not the kind of person that will go out and party every night, I am sure at 90% that you would to meet people that will positively impact in your live and and if you see that kind of people you will be more than welcome to be out with them. So, stop bluffing yourself and start scanning your neighborhood. Ask yourself what kind of places you like to go have fun, find out where they are and without asking yourself questions just go there. You like swimming? Well, don’t ask yourself if you are well shaped enough to be in a swimming pool. Go find pools that are in your neigborhood, get yourself a swimming suit and just go there. Remember you deserve to be there and have fun and as you get fun and enjoy yourself, you will attract more people to you.
  3. Invite friends: When it comes to fun just like in team work, the more people the better. You want to be more outgoing? The go through your phone book and and call some of your friends who are naturally outgoing and try to do something with them. The naturally already that positive energy that will push you to go out and you know you will have fun with them. So don’t hesitate to call them and to invite them to go out with you or if you don’t know where to go, then just ask them you feel you going out and ask them if they have some free time to go out with you at a place the both of you would  have fun.   

I promise you I’d keep this post short and simple so let me conclude with this. Be more outgoing can be very painful sometimes especially if it’s not one of your natural skill. However, wether it’s for business or just for your social life, you don’t want to miss an opportunity to meet someone that can positively impact your life. Find yourself a role model in your close network of friends and relatives and hang out with him, see what he/she does and try to duplicate what works better for you. Whatever you do, get out of your room and go out.

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Follow up To Excel

Image from Bloomberg Businessweek

Why go to all the trouble of meeting new people, asking to be connected to new potential partners or clients, begging to be invited and accepted to restricted groups of people, if at the end you don’t follow up? As said Keith Ferrazzi, follow-up is the key to success in any field, the hammer and nails of your networking tool kit.

One of my tasks at Southwestern Consulting was to develop the hispanic market in Nashville,TN in getting them interested in the Coaching seminars we were offering. When I took the position, I had no lead, and I had just moved in Nashville so I knew so little bit about where to find my perfect clients. After driving around and asking around, I got one hit. A business owner located in the hispanic neighborhood accepted to have me come to her office for a sale presentation. I couldn’t afford missing that opportunity, I had to nail it down and even if she was not deciding to invest in our seminar, I need to generate some more leads from her. As I arrived at the travel agency she owns, her assistant led me to her office and after 25 minutes on my way out, she was saying she needs to think about it without even giving me any lead. However, instead of giving up on her, once at work the next day, I did send her a quick email note to thank her for the time we spent together and let her know I am at her service for any self-improvement advices she might need. Added to that note at the end was a sales tip that I attached for her in case she would find it interesting.

The result was astonishing. She didn’t reply by email but gave me a call inviting me to come back to her office and that this time she will be there with a friend of her who is also a business owner. I was excited by that call and to make a long story short, I ended up winning her business, her friend’s business and the business of one of the leads she gave me.   That’s why following up is so important, the person can see that you do care and therefore will be willing to answer on your favor. Once the sales closed, I did send her a thank you note to express her my gratefulness in re-assuring her of the great investment she did.

The thank you-note is a tremendous opportunity to reinforce a perception of continuity in a relationship and create an aura of good will.

Here are important points to include in your follow-ups:

  • Express your gratitude
  • Show genuine and sincere interest
  • Be reactive (don’t wait too long to email or call to say thank you )
  • Thank the people who have acted in favor  and helped to make everything a success (assistant…)

As you strive to make follow-up a habit, you will see your image in people’s mind being more considered and your business will benefit the results.

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