Every time you have an interaction with someone there is an opportunity awaiting you. You may not get a “sale” that day but you are building a relationship. It does not matter if it’s in person, over the phone, through an email or letter. So how do you build relationships and get the most out of every interaction? It’s all about how the person you are trying to reach perceives you and your business. Whoever you are interacting with needs to be the most important client, member, or potential customer you have. They need to know that you will do whatever it takes to make sure their needs are met. Make it about them and not you.
Learn at least one personal thing about every person you interact with. People love to talk about themselves. By knowing pertinent personal facts about the person you are reaching out to shows you are interested in them. Leading interactions with a professionally personal question about them will increase your success rate. People want to work with the people they know and trust.
So how does it work? If you are on the phone or in person you say hi and ask how the convention in Florida went, or how their child is doing this year in baseball, it puts that person at ease. Guards are down and they are more open to talking to you. Now you start talking about the business at hand. Always ask open ended questions, keep in mind people love to talk and be listened to. Pay close attention and read between the lines. When you hear an opportunity, take it! When ending the conversation make sure to go back to personal. Let them know what a pleasure it was to speak to them again. How glad you are they had such a great time at the convention and how you are looking forward to talking to them again soon.
The same thing go’s with email and letters. Make it personal. Start the same way you would start your phone conversations. An example might be: Hi Sue, I hope you had fun on your vacation last week; I can’t wait to hear about it. Continue the body of your email or letter speaking on the points you need to get across. End with, I am glad you and your family made it back safely and I am looking forward to continuing our conversation from last week. You have just increased your chances of getting a response. Who doesn’t love to talk about their vacations? Using a vacation is just one example of making things personal yet professional.
If your client, member, or customer likes you, then they are going to choose you over the person or company they do not have a connection with. You are building a long lasting relationship, which will be very profitable in the future, by just taking the time to listen and showing interest in the person you are trying to reach.