As we talk in the grander scheme of overall corporate communications, it all comes down to
R: RELATIONSHIPS and REWORK.
Two different concepts but related as we’ll go into later. Let’s start with RELATIONSHIPS. If someone likes you and respects you, they will listen to what you have to say. If they don’t for whatever reason (that may or may not have anything to do with you!) – then getting them to listen to you will be an uphill battle.
Beca Lewis said:
This ties into a recent blog posting I discovered called “3 Deadly Sins of Business Relationships” by Diane Helbig. The highlights of the post were that so many people go to networking events with an end goal in mind and in the process discard the importance of building the relationship first. I know many of these goal-driven people (they are colleagues who brush past me on their way to the “kill” or prospects!) – they go to an event to get a preset number of qualified leads and work their way around the gathering like a fox on a hunt. They are interesting to watch as they scope out their prey, approach the prospect, exchange their card, make their pitch and within 1.5 minutes move on to the next potential buyer in the room. Often these “movers and shakers” end up leaving the meeting with what they consider to be a treasure cache of business cards – and think their time was well spent.
I’ve always approached networking functions with a different and likely less overall successful strategy – I simply like to meet new people. People like me, people who are different, people who have problems and opportunities and challenges and who are simply out to meet others. At the end of the evening, it is as likely as not that I will have met a few new acquaintances and exchanged information. Often it is simply a pleasant exchange whereby I’ve given them some information or a new idea that might further their business. In the big karma bank of life, I might be truly naive in thinking that goodness given is repaid somewhere somehow when I need to make a withdrawal from the karma bank. Certainly this is not a sales-focused approach, nor has it gained me any direct business ever!
I find the same situation arises when I attend or speak at major industry conferences. Perhaps I should have mined the lists of attendees, scoped out prospects and gone in for the leads, but that’s just never been my style. Over the years, many colleagues have asked me why I bother to talk to people who won’t give me business – and my answer has always been that I genuinely like to meet like-minded people and that is satisfaction enough. I believe that many of the contracts that I’ve gotten through word-of-mouth have come to me simply because I did not pursue people for their buying ability – and instead talk to them as people.
Read the 3 Deadly Sins of Building Business Relationships and let me know if you like it as much as I do!
Next posting – Rework and how much effort (and waste) it takes in communication. Just this week alone, I’m quite certain that 1/3 of my time was spent on emailing people, following up when they didn’t answer, emailing yet again, calling and leaving voice mails and then still doing more. What a total waste of time and energy chasing rainbows and promises that don’t deliver in the end!
Wishing you great relationships in all aspects of your life – and the communication success that comes from putting relationships before leads!