Do you want to distinguish yourself from others in a favorable way? Develop two powerful habits: follow-up and follow-through. They apply to any relationship in your life of business and business of life. There’s a reason I always interchange those two phrases: because we are whole beings, not split into multiple personalities. These two areas, life and business, are intertwined.
Why is this important? Because it is the key to developing these two powerful habits. Recognizing that you are doing business with a person – a whole person.
Your clients are not companies, your clients are people. You aren’t doing business with Big Pharma, you are doing business with Robert Smith, VP of operations. Robert has 10 direct reports and is responsible for a billion dollar budget. He also has one son about to graduate college, another just starting. He is active in his community and loves to build things on weekends. He enjoys a good book, but doesn’t have time to read very often.
Getting to know your prospects, clients, employees, or teammates is about getting to know people. How do you do that? By building a relationship, one step at a time. There are two very powerful habits that help you to build trusting relationships in business (and personal life.)
the habit of follow-up
What is one of the most powerful ways you can build that relationship? By following up. If you reach out to a prospective new client, don’t just stop at the initial introduction. Follow-up. Keep a conversation going. Even if the conversation isn’t about your product or service. Better yet, hold the sales talk until you get to know your client. What better way to make a recommended solution than to truly know and understand the problem – from your client’s perspective! Understanding the whole person and their worldview will help you to select the perfect solution and make a recommendation. Caution: building genuine relationships may lead you to recommend a solution other than your own product or service. But this is where you build trust beyond the average professional. This is what sets you apart and your client will begin to see you as a trusted advisor. Which is reinforced by building the next habit: follow-through.
the habit of follow-through
From the moment you make that first contact with a person, you are either building or breaking trust. Which do you want as your reputation? If you want to be a trusted advisor, a trusted professional, it is critical to strengthen your habit of follow-through. What is follow-through? It’s about taking action to support your words. Provide the information you promised in that quick conversation you had in the line at the cafe. Be on time for meetings both in person and virtual. Deliver your projects on time. Admit when you make a mistake. Cancel meetings if you are unable to make it, don’t be rude and just not show up.
Have you heard the adage it’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission? That may work if you already have a trusting relationship, but it will sabotage an chance of building a new relationship.
We work with people we trust. We build trusting relationships over time. Create the opportunity for building trust by developing the habits of follow-up and follow-through. Become a trusted advisor. Become successful.