This is a great article written by Andrew Sobel. This piece is adapted from the book he co-wrote with Jerry Panas entitled "Power Relationships: 26 Irrefutable Laws for Building Extraordinary Relationships."
We live in the most connected age in history.And yet, we have fewer real relationships than ever. For many, the acquisition of hundreds of social media contacts has replaced the cultivation of deep, meaningful relationships with clients, colleagues, and even with friends and family. But the problem is deeper than that. It is genuinely tougher to build the trusted relationships you need to thrive in your career.
- There are three major challenges that all client-facing professionals now have to confront.Enjoy this site: http://8040.org
There are three major challenges that all client-facing professionals now have to confront. First, how do you access and connect with senior executives who are time-starved and have put up walls to protect their time?
Second, how do you become relevant to prospects and clients who won’t give you a second chance if the first conversation doesn’t light a spark? And third, how do you build a trusted, personal relationship over time so that you have a seat at the table when issues in your area of expertise are discussed?
To overcome these challenges you need to leverage what we call the Relationship Laws. Just as an airplane must respect the laws of physics in order to fly, your behaviors must align with these Laws if you want to sell effectively and build clients for life.
Here are some of the Relationship Laws that will help you connect, become relevant, and build deep, personal relationships with clients.
Connect with the C-SuiteOne of our clients was promoted into the c-suite at her Fortune-100 company, after having been the deputy in her area for many years. During that time, the advisors and suppliers to her company had rarely spent time with her or invited her to their special events, preferring to focus on her boss, who controlled the budget.
She told us that on the day her promotion was announced to the press, she suddenly got dozens of calls from these suppliers—all now wanting to do business with her. She told us, “I asked each of them: Where were you five years ago?”
Use Law Three—follow the person, not the position—and your job will become much easier. Build relationships with smart, motivated, interesting, and ambitious people, even if they’re not in an important job right now. Follow them throughout their careers. When some of them eventually take senior positions, you will be welcomed as the old friend you are.
- Build relationships with smart, motivated, interesting, and ambitious people, even if they’re not in an important job right now.Law Eighteen will also help you connect with busy, distracted executives. It’s very simple: Make them curious. When someone is curious, they reach towards you. They’re eager to take the next step.
You create curiosity and reach by showing just a bit of the glitter of the gold you have to offer your client. Say the unexpected. Surprise the other person with your candid answer to a tough question. Shake their thinking up by showing them a side to their problem they had not considered.
I once found myself halfway around the world, with only five minutes to convince a skeptical CEO that his company should hire me. So what did I do?
I used Law Eighteen. I threw out the conventional sales wisdom (“Ask good questions” and “Find out their issues”) and evoked the CEO’s curiosity by bluntly mentioning several important risks—which his own people had never surfaced—that his new initiative faced. He sat up in his chair and leaned towards me, suddenly engaged. The meeting ending up lasting 15 minutes and I got the sale.
Show How You Are RelevantGetting the first meeting with a top executive is hard. But getting a second meeting is even harder. It begins with Law Nine: Walk in their shoes. If you mentally walk in someone’s shoes before you meet with them, your empathy will be heightened and you’ll be focused on their issues, not yours.
- If you mentally walk in someone’s shoes before you meet with them, your empathy will be heightened and you’ll be focused on their issues, not yours.Step back and ask yourself, “What is this person thinking and feeling right now? What pressures and concerns do they face? How will they react to my message?”
Another important Law that is fundamental to relevance is number Twenty-Two: Become part of your clients’ growth and profits and they’ll never get enough of you. The flip side of this Law is that if clients view you as an expense to be managed, they’ll cut you at any time.”
When there’s a downturn, or when clients are under financial pressures, they focus on cutting discretionary expenses. But they won’t cut an investment that’s proven to help grow revenues or increase profits. A provider who is seen as supporting a client’s most essential programs is not easily replaceable.
To be seen as part of growth and profits, you have to show how your products and services are helping your client achieve his or her highest-level goals. (This is Law Three: Know their agenda and help them accomplish it).
A good starting point is a very simple question: How are you going to be evaluated at the end of the year? Then, you can ask a second, related question: How do your individual goals support the organization’s overall strategy and key priorities for this year?
You can read the entire article HERE
Solvtopia is a Business Strategy Consultant you can count on to help guide your business to greater success today, tomorrow and into the future.