The 5 Characteristics of Relationship Building
Technological advances are critical to every business remaining relevant. However, technology by itself is not a differentiator. The more you place technology between the company and the customer, the more you remove the human experience.
A study by the Relational Capital Group revealed that 89% of senior leaders believe that relationships are the most important factor in their success year over year. However, the study also revealed that only 24% of these leaders actually do anything intentionally to promote building those relationships. Further, the study indicated that fewer than 5% of organizations actually have any specific strategies for helping their professionals develop and strengthen the relationships required to achieve their goals.
No one is born with a rapport-building gene. And not everyone is inclined to be outgoing or to strike up a conversation with people they don’t know. The environment you grow up in plays a big part in how you act. If you had extremely outgoing parents, chances are you will grow up to behave similarly. However, even if you were not exposed to an outgoing environment in your early years, this skill set can certainly be developed and mastered.
To master relationship building and develop strong relationships, there are certain characteristics you must work on: 1) Be authentic, 2) be obsessively curious, 3) be a great listener, 4) must have incredible empathy, and 5) love people.
- Must be authentic. People have great BS detectors. Your interest in others and your desire to make a connection must be authentic. If you are asking questions merely for appearances, just to make a sale, or to turn the conversation back to yourself, people will see through you. Not being authentic will earn you a poor reputation. You are much better served simply coming out and asking for what you want; people will respect you more. Instead of trying to manipulate people into buying products or services, you must show them you care. You need to demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in them and that you realize they are human beings with life, not just customers you are trying to sell to.
- Must be obsessively curious. Those who are the strongest at relationship building are extremely curious. They are dying to learn about others and their experiences. They are curious not only about subjects that interest them but also about unfamiliar subjects. They become investigative reporters, wanting to learn as much as possible about other people’s lives and passions. They truly enjoy learning. They explore what makes human beings tick.
- Must be a great listener. There is a lot more to being a good listener than just letting the other person talk. You need to be attentive, patient, make good eye contact, not interrupt, ask probing questions, and, finally, pause to process what you heard before responding.
- Must have incredible empathy. One of our strongest human talents is the ability to empathize with another person’s situation. Seeing and understanding someone’s experience from their perspective, walking in their shoes, is key.
- Must love people. No two people are alike. No one is perfect. Everyone is flawed. Yet everyone has unlimited potential. Human beings are incredible. Everyone has a story about their life’s journey – what they have overcome, their accomplishments, their incredible talents, fears, regrets, and dreams. Each human being has a story inside. The fun is discovering those incredible stories. When you truly serve people, your goal is not to make money or to get them to do what you want, but to take care of their needs and desires.
In a Relationship Economy, the primary currency is made up of the connections and trust among customers, employees, and vendors who create significantly more value in what we sell. These relationships and connections help make price irrelevant.
This is taken from my newest book The Relationship Economy: Building Stronger Customer Connections in the Digital Age, just published in October.
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