If you’re in business, you probably hear a lot about the importance of managing your relationships. Good sales professionals maintain a database of past customers and prospects, but I actually know only a handful of people who are truly exceptional at relationship management. Here are some tips on managing relationships that can help you business-wise and personally for the rest of your life.
- Be authentic. If you genuinely care about people, this will be easy. People can smell fake.
- Don’t always be selling something. You have heard the phrase “he only cares about people who can do something for him”. I have recently been getting messages from people who I haven’t heard from in years, mostly because they think REOs are coming back, and believe that I may be able to help them. Of course, I know they couldn’t care less about me, they only want something. Like most people, if I am going to help anyone, it’s going to be the people who have proven to me over time that our relationship is based on something more than what I can give them.
- Your most valuable relationships are the people who you have helped in the past. Everyone likes the idea of having rich, successful friends, but I believe if you spend your life focused on helping people, you will never need anything. My father told me to always be kind to people because you never know when or where you will see that person again. Definitely one of the best pieces of advice he gave me.
- Don’t think short-term. It takes time to build a strong relationship with someone. People are only focused on the immediate. Your most valuable relationships are the ones that have survived the test of time.
- Trust is everything in a relationship. I severed a relationship this week with someone I have known for years. It was disappointing to have to do it, but this person proved they couldn’t be trusted. A decade of friendship can be lost in a moment if you violate someone’s trust.
We all have a finite amount of relationship capital, and like money, the more you invest the more capital you will have when you need it.