MANY corporations recognise the value-add of customer relationship management software solutions, but these are limited to database and activity tracking technologies.
Few achieve discipline in the personal and professional skills of interpersonal relationship-building.
This can be mastered by taking a proactive and disciplined approach to your personal network, allowing you to decrease the time needed to build important relationships and to scale intimacy throughout the workplace. The two key areas to look at are mindset and skills set.
Developing good relationships is integral to your business. Sincere relationships are based on intimacy and generosity, which will help you to achieve success.
Intimate relationships are built on your capacity to make others comfortable by being friendly and genuine. You achieve a deeper level of connection when you share your interests, dreams and aspirations with others.
Think about the power of bonding with an associate over a bottle of wine. Lowering your guard and sharing your struggles, challenges, fears and vulnerabilities with the other party build trust. This is the pinnacle of intimacy and the basis for all deep, lasting and loyal business relationships.
My earliest customers knew how critical they were to my company's survival. I asked for their advice on how to improve when I failed, and I openly discussed my fears and expressed my appreciation for their faith in me and my company. Till today, they remain my loyal customers.
The second half of successful relationship-building is generosity - helping others to achieve their goals. Ask yourself what value you can give to others, based on what you know about their needs, dreams and fears?
Basic generosity means offering your clients great products. The next level is providing solutions around the product. The highest level of generosity is making others feel or be successful. This evokes the vertex of American psychologist Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs where the self-actualised individual is altruistically compelled to help others.
Here is how you can achieve personal and professional goals with the right mindset:
Know what you want, personally and professionally. Think of this as strategic planning over the next couple of years.
Identify the people who are important to your goals. Create a map to clearly identify the appropriate groups and specific individuals.
After identifying and prioritising the individuals, define what you can do for them (generosity) and create appropriate messages to reach out to them.
Align your goals with your associates. Prepare, train and align your goals with people from your company and who are necessary to the execution of your plan.
Externally, align your friends in charge of the key accounts and anyone else who can help. Ask yourself if these individuals are aware of your goals and whether they are aligned with them.
Reach out to targeted individuals through a combination of meetings, events and something I call "pinging" - quick, casual greetings done in any number of ways.
Establish regular contact with key people in your network so they constantly keep you in mind when opportunities arise. Remember, out of sight is out of mind.
Your goals and plans are dynamic and must be continuously refreshed and renewed at least twice a year.
This relationship-building process allows you to create a framework to scale intimacy, focus on building deeper relationships with key influencers who will help you succeed and achieve the full potential of your network.
Never let your clients forget that building better relationships will bring everyone more joy and fulfilment.