I am unilaterally declaring that 2014 is the year of the relationship. I have checked the statutes, laws, and ordinances, and I haven’t seen anything that says I can’t. So I am doing it! Yes, I am proud to announce to my loyal readers that 2014 is the year that we will recapture, renew, and create new relationships that will yield more sales and personal advancement. So this concept is for everyone…and it’s not optional if you want to take your game to a new level. 2014 is the year that great things come from not thinking there is a new silver bullet for sales. It’s all about deploying my process of practicing relationship portability™, which I talk about in all of my keynotes and workshops. I have built my business doing this, and it has worked magic for me. It means not texting. It means less email and more calling. It means more getting out and getting as much face time as possible. Wait, there is more.
Starting today, I want to you to try the following, and let’s see how you can leverage relationships in a new way that yields results.
- Identify five people you have not connected with in at least a year. Pick up the phone and call them. Start the conversation asking about them, and then see where the conversation goes. Do what people do – talk and get acquainted…in some cases, reacquainted. If you are wondering which people, pick five clients you are not working with anymore or five people you went to college with. Or five high school friends. These people are very easy to find with myriad social media tools available to us. Close with a get-together – coffee or breakfast – where you can learn more about them.
- Create your networking plan for the year. Pick three groups – two professional and one personal – and get involved. Just going to random events is worthless. Getting involved with organizations that are meaningful to you IS the way to go. Commit to going and being involved for 12 to 18 months with no excuses. Getting involved means getting on a committee and digging in. I think membership (you meet all of the new members), programming (you get to decide what content to bring in and offer to the membership), and sponsorship are the best bets. All three get you on the frontline of the group AND they give you a reason to call people with a different agenda! Be reliable and consistently present, and watch how people and opportunity find you.
- Give back in a big way. Find a way to give what you can to people in need. For example, I have been working consistently with people in career transition, helping them learn how to sell themselves. I love doing this work, and I know that I am making a big difference in people’s lives. It makes me feel great, and it continues to build my network and virtual sales team of amazing people. So if someone asks you to contribute in some meaningful way, say “yes.” The more you give, the more you get. Old saying with a huge impact for them and for you.
- Know what you know. I think the best way to start to grow a professional relationship is to be great at what you know you are great at and leave the rest to others. No one buys from someone who claims to do it all and is mediocre at everything. Be great and be known for it. Refer the rest to the people you meet from your networking plan. You will be top of mind, and your relationships will flourish.
2014 is the year of the relationship. It’s simple and it requires little work. I am not stating anything new when I say that relationships are the lifeblood of what we do. It’s time we approached them with new vigor and focus to make sure that our relationships are renewed, recaptured, and refreshed with a healthy back and forth for a mutual win.