Hello everyone. I’ve been out of town this past week enjoying some time with my family. So, I asked my buddy, Best Selling Author, Mark Sanborn to share some of his wisdom. His new book Fred 2.0 is out and it’s awesome. So, here’s some Mark:
Six Steps to Building Extraordinary Relationships
By Mark Sanborn (Partially Excerpted from Fred 2.0 New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results | www.Fred2Book.com )
What makes anyone–regardless of their position or work–memorable and extraordinary? We are most impressed not just by the quality of a person’s work but also by the way he or she treats us.
Relationships are key.
If you want your business to become extraordinary, you must develop extraordinary relationships.
Take for instance my mailman, Fred Shea, who I’ve profiled in my books The Fred Factor and Fred 2.0. Fred stood out from other postal carriers who had served our neighborhood for many reasons, but the primary one was his sincere interest in getting to know me.
Think about it, how can you serve customers well if you don’t know or understand them?
Fred’s influence came from his ability to relate to others and build genuine relationships with those on his route–including me.
What makes people like Fred the Postman so good with people is this simple thing: he treats people like friends. He doesn’t wait to become friends with someone. He assumes the positive, expects the best, and values the other person. And guess what? The people he interacts with feel valued.
You may be convinced that relationships are essential to the health of your business or organization, but you aren’t sure how to strengthen the ones you have and build new ones. These steps will give you a place to start.
1. It isn’t enough to build relationships if you don’t maintain them.
The only thing worse than not creating a good relationship at all is creating a connection with customers that they can’t rely on. When a service provider seems interested initially but doesn’t maintain the relationship after the sale, the customer feels manipulated. It’s almost like a bait and switch.
If you are in sales, you know the importance of keeping the connections you create, even if the prospect didn’t buy from you. Not only is it good business to follow up and say thank you after you make the sale, it can also be good business to follow up with those who didn’t buy to say, “Thanks for considering our products, and please let me know if I can ever help you in the future.”
2. It doesn’t have to take much time.
Sometimes going above and beyond requires a significant investment of time and effort. But in general, those who relate well to others don’t spend extra hours each day relating. It isn’t about how much time you spend with those in a professional setting (although that is important) but how quickly and authentically you are able to demonstrate your concern and commitment. Being fully present when engaging with others is effective and doesn’t have to take much extra time. It simply involves putting aside any distractions and giving the person you are with your undivided attention.
3. Friendliness is a choice, not a response.
It’s easy to be friendly to nice people, but how do you deal with angry customers? If you depend on the mood of the other person, you’ll be limited in who you can connect with. The test of friendliness is the ability to be pleasant to someone who is being unpleasant to you. Instead of fighting fire with fire, try responding to negativity with positivity. It may not change the other person, but it will keep him or her from changing you.
4. Employees rarely treat customers better than their employer treats them.
One of the biggest complaints I get from employees is that their manager wants them to be nice to customers even though the manager isn’t nice to them. Treating employees differently than you expect them to treat customers is shortsighted, if not delusional. You communicate more powerfully with your behavior than you do with your words. Unfortunately, just as good behavior can be paid forward, poor behavior can be passed on as well. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself.”
5. Nice isn’t enough if you’re not competent.
If you’re about to undergo surgery, your first concern is that your surgeon is competent and capable. All the niceness in the world is no substitute if the doctor is a hack. Once the competency expectation is met, a relationship is the icing on the cake. A doctor who is competent and who makes the time to take a personal interest, communicate clearly, and express empathy will have a far larger and more committed patient base than a doctor who is merely good at what he or she does. On the flip side, studies show that the number one factor in malpractice suits is a breakdown in doctor-patient communication.
Relationship is important, but make sure you’re offering a good product and good service first.
6. Relationships aren’t built in a day.
Many people in the marketplace seem to have “Relationship ADD”–they expect instant payback from customers, and when they don’t get it, they lose interest and abandon the customer altogether.
We build relationships over time by giving those we interact with our consistent and undivided attention. I worked for a sales organization where the sales manager told us, “Sell ‘em and forget ‘em. You don’t have time to get to know customers.” With such a mismatch in values, I knew my time there would be short. And as it turned out, the sales manager didn’t stay long either.
This article is by bestselling author and speaker Mark Sanborn. Mark’s latest book, Fred 2.0 New Ideas on How to Keep Delivering Extraordinary Results, is now available. Visit www.Fred2Book.com now to learn more and gain instant access to a Fred 2.0 “EXTRAordinary Results” Resource Kit.
Thanks Mark! Now that you have a taste of what’s in Mark’s new book, I hope you go out and buy a box of them for you and your team to read and follow!