Relationships and Wealth
Life is 100% relationships. Think about the people you come in contact with every day. Each one of those people plays an important role in your life. Whether it’s your spouse, children, customer, business partner or even the casual acquaintance. Build the right relationships and you will ultimately build your wealth.
- Participate in a relationship-based referral group. The key word in that statement is “participate.” You must get actively involved. Just showing up to the weekly or monthly meetings isn’t enough. Will you get some business by just your attendance? Yes. However, if you want to truly grow your business based solely on your referral partners you must get to know them and allow them to get to know you—the real you. People never, and I mean never, like to be sold on product or service. People want to do business with people they know, like, and trust. They want to know how you can help them. Schedule at least two lunches or coffee meetings every week before you leave the group meeting. Otherwise, life happens and you’ll be sure to be meeting-less that week.
- Know, like, and trust. Zig Ziglar said it best: “If people like you they will listen to you. If they trust you they will do business with you.” People have to trust you. When was the last time you went to a car dealership to purchase a new car? Did you feel a little uneasy about the process or did you work with someone who you ultimately trusted to help you through the process? Building trust can take months or even years. But I can assure you that once people trust you they will refer you to their family, friends, colleagues, and other business owners.
- Ask them to meet for coffee. Just about everyone drinks coffee. Meeting for coffee requires less commitment than meeting for an hour over lunch. Within twenty minutes or so you can begin to build the relationship. Schedule your next coffee meeting before you leave. Remember, this is relationship building, not a one-and-done stop to spew your product or service all over them.
- Always ask about them. Too often I’ve witnessed meetings where the two parties involved talk over each other to talk about themselves and their products or services. It becomes a series of bad commercials and no one is listening. Ask them how they got into their business. Ask what their challenges and successes have been as a business owner. Ask about their family. Get to know them. While it may sound simple, refraining from sharing everything we can offer and asking about the other person can be a real challenge.
- Listen and listen again. Now that you’ve asked the questions, clear your thoughts. Don’t try to think about what you’ll ask them next. Don’t think about how your product or service could help them. Just listen. Listen intently. People love to share their stories. Let them share. Building relationships takes effort on your part. Listening and truly hearing what another person is saying is key.
- Take notes. Yes, take notes. Let’s face it: the average person only remembers 50% of what they hear after three hours and only about 50% of that after twenty-four hours. If you really want to build the relationship take notes and study them as if you were studying for an exam. People have a genuine need to know people care. Remembering their birthday, their favorite restaurant, their pet’s name goes a long way. I always ask permission to take notes and explain that I can remember things much better if I write it down. Most people consider it a compliment that you would actually want to remember what they’ve told you.
- Keep your word. This one is so simple, yet people undervalue the power of doing what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it. Remember, if people trust you they will do business with you. Miss a scheduled meeting, forget to send information you promised you would send, or fail to meet a deadline that you assured them would be easy to meet and you’ve probably lost their trust. You may gain it back eventually. However, the process of building the relationship and the trust starts all over again.
- Understand the power. Many business owners don’t understand the power of relationships. Everything you do in life can be successful or fail because of a relationship. Marry the wrong person and end up divorced. Chose the wrong CPA and end up with a drowning business. Chose and build the right relationships with the right people and it will change your life. Business is an ever-evolving target and so are your clients. If you are a small business that relies on local shoppers, your time is better served building relationships than your marketing campaign. Yes, it’s that serious. Small businesses can live and die by a referral. Do a great job for someone who knows, likes, and trust you and you’ll get more business from them. Break their trust and you will lose more business than you will ever know. Here’s a simple example of the power of relationships: Mrs. Jones purchased a house and Mr. Ross was her Realtor. Mr. Ross recommended Mrs. Davis to provide the financing for the home. Mrs. Davis recommended Mr. Scott to provide the home inspection. Mr. Scott recommended Mrs. Wright to close the loan. Mrs. Wright recommended Mr. Green to help the Joneses move. Mr. Green recommended Mr. Smith to provide the homeowners insurance. Mr. Smith recommended Mr. White to provide the move-in and move-out cleaning. The Jones family was taken care of through the entire process. Each business gained a client and new business…with zero marketing. All they did was build the right relationships with the right people.
- Block time. We all have the same amount of time. So why are some people so successful and others are not? The difference is simple. Successful people block the time to do what’s important. Building relationships is important. Even if you only block a couple of hours a week, block it. Make a half of one day a week your meeting or relationship-building day. If you block every Tuesday from 9:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. to build relationships, you could meet four people every week. That’s sixteen new or a combination of new and existing relationships every month.
- Go give! We live in a society of go-getters. Be a go-giver. Look for opportunities to help others achieve their goals or just meet their needs. Ask who they would like to meet. Make the introduction for them. Ask what you can do to help them and then do it. Another favorite Zig Ziglar quote of mine is, “You can get everything you want out of life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”