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Business is about Relationships
“Business is not just doing deals..........business is a cobweb of human relationships.” H Ross Perot
Whether you sell products or services, direct or online, you understand that people buy from those they know and trust. Major online vendors such as Amazon and eBay, despite their size, make us feel like they know us personally. They communicate with us individually, remembering what we bought and considered, and offer us similar types of items. How many of us with smaller, off-line operations make our customers feel so important after they buy from us?
I have seen the best in action. My significant other, Allan, is a manufacturer’s representative for various lines of men’s clothing. Retailers typically come to his office to view samples of his products, so he doesn’t see their stores very often. Yet in the summer, when we travel around New England, we stop at customer’s shops in the area. Allan feels that he can serve his accounts better if sees their set up. He has a friendly conversation with the owner, looks around, and we are on the road again. I can see how much they appreciate his stopping by.
Some accounts are family businesses where he originally dealt with the parents. Allan has developed special relationships with the second generation. He mentors several of the younger owners, and one even e-mails Allan newspaper ads to critique before they are published. Store owners have called him about employee issues. When they decide to open another store, they consult with him about location options. One client of twenty plus years tells him, “You know what sells. Pick out what I should buy; just keep it within my budget.” When Allan occasionally changes a line he carries, most of these accounts simply move over to buy whatever he decides to sell. Is he in a relationship business? You bet he is.
I enjoy similar experiences with colleagues who keep in touch. One is Craig Strauss, a financial planner with Edward Jones. He calls me every few months just to say hello. Besides having a nice conversation, he gives me financial tips and often has a colleague or client to introduce me to. Another person is Arlene Simon, director of business development for Ganek Architects, who thoughtfully e-mails virtual introductions, articles and events she thinks would be interest me. If I have an opportunity to refer either of these professionals, I wouldn’t hesitate for a second. Their frequent connections aren’t at all an annoyance, but rather make me feel valued.
You can strengthen relationships and increase business if you:
Thank you for your readership, I appreciate it.
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