This morning I was interviewed for a podcast that originates in England. During our conversation, I was asked about critical success factors for successful relationships.
For me, there are two keys to successful relationships – a strong connection and the ability to communicate. Because they seem like cliche answers, let me elaborate for a moment.
I describe a strong connection as the “pull” that brings two people together. I’m sure you could describe a relationship that was all about pushing – someone pushing to create a relationship when there wasn’t a connection. It’s most typical to think of a “dating” nightmare or a “pushy salesperson” when you think about feeling pushed, prodded, cajoled, etc.
A strong connection is the spark or interest or attraction that makes you say, “hmmm…. I want to know more about that product/ service/ person/ business” You feel that there’s something more to explore, something more to learn. Even after the initial interaction, something continues to draw you back to that store, restaurant, business, or person.
The ability to communicate is not about speaking and being heard. The ability to communicate is knowing how to say what needs to be said in a way that is good for everyone involved. It isn’t just the actual words. It’s the intent you have when you start communicating.
It’s knowing when email is appropriate and when a face-to-face meeting is better. It’s knowing sometimes a handwritten note means more than a hastily composed email or a printed marketing flyer.
It’s knowing how to respect your prospective client and how they want to be approached. It’s knowing that sometimes clients want the personal touch and sometimes it’s easier to contact you via email.
It’s knowing that your business speaks to clients through marketing materials, the receptionist’s greeting, the voicemail message you use, your website, and your facial expression in your photos. It’s knowing that you are communicating through everything you do, say, print, or publish.
What do you consider to be crucial for a successful relationship?