Business is About Relationships: Tools to Strengthen Yours

What makes a good friend? To me, a friend is someone I can rely upon to always be there for me, tell me the truth, listen and share intimate moments with me, and enjoy doing things together. I've had some friends, like Jan Glas, since I was a little girl. Others, like my former roommate Wendy Jungbluth, came along later in my life, but we became so close during our roomie days that we are more like sisters. It doesn't matter how often or how little we communicate. These two women will always be my friends.

Others may move from acquaintances to friends and back to acquaintances. As people's lives get busier, they forget to phone, neglect to respond to an invitation or email, and fall off the friendship radar screen. There's only so much time you can put into one-sided communication.

And it's not so different with clients and prospects.

Getting prospects to commit to hiring you, and then keeping them as clients, requires the same relationship-building skills as you use to make and maintain friendships. Of course, you don't need to suffer through lots of "one-sided communication" to become the "blip" that stands out on the client's radar screen if you're good at:

==> Rapport building.
==> Honesty.
==> Commitment.
==> Follow-through.
==> Organization.
==> Follow-up.
==> Asking for what you want.
==> Communication.
==> Doing the right thing.
==> Keeping the other person's best interests in mind.
==> Always being there; not always being there to sell.

Let me explain what I mean by the last bullet. If you give your prospect the impression that the only thing that is important to you is to make the sale, you'll lose it in a heartbeat. You need to be stable, solid and ready to provide help -- within limits, naturally -- to your prospect to prove that you have their best interest in mind.

Send articles to your prospect that discuss industry trends. Shoot off a succinct email with a tidbit of information you recently discovered. Forward opportunities that you hear about. Help the prospect find that special employee they have been searching for, etc. That's what I mean by "always being there, but not always being there to sell." It is, of course, a rapport-building technique.

Do you need free content for your newsletter? Send an email to: content@marketingideashop.com?subject=ezine_content with your request. This article was reprinted from "MarketingIdeaShop BRAINY Tidbits," a no-charge ezine from Marketing Idea Shop and Lois Carter Fay featuring brainy ideas and resources for marketers and small businesses. Subscribe today at http://www.marketingideashop.com and receive by email (no charge) "67 Ways to Promote Your Business."


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