One of the biggest mistakes I see many salespeople and professionals make is that they take a purely transactional approach to business. They reach out to their clients or customers only when there’s a transaction or an issue to deal with. They seem to think that all that’s important is that they know their stuff and that they do a good job.

The problem with this approach is that on the end of every transaction is a real person. We humans are relational beings. We thrive on relationships, not transactions.

You may do a good job for your clients, but if you don’t build a relationship with them, you’re just another service provider or vendor. In other words, forgettable and replaceable.

People Need to Feel You Care
In our book Sell the Feeling, we talk about the three feelings that people need to have to want to do business with you: 1) trust, 2) confidence and a 3) feeling of being cared for.

A number of years ago my wife and I were looking for a someone to handle our investments. I interviewed several financial advisers. They were all competent and professional, but one guy really stood out. He talked about the value of having long-term relationships with his clients. After our meeting, he called me a couple of times to follow up. I could feel that he cared. When it came to picking someone to manage our money, I wanted someone that cared about me, my family, and our future. Of course, I picked him.

Some of the smartest people I’ve met are also the dumbest. My wife and I once met with an estate planning attorney about creating a will and trust. He was an expert in his field and we had no doubt that he could do a great job for us. But in our meeting, he was technical and aloof. We felt like just another transaction in his busy day. Despite his brilliance, he just didn’t get the relational aspect of business. We felt very blasé about working with him, so we kept looking till we found someone who made us feel cared for.

These days, there are hundreds of professionals who provide the same products or services as you. Providing great products and services is simply not enough anymore.

Relationships Make a Huge Difference
One of the biggest differentiators you can have is your relationship with your clients. It’s all in how you treat the person in front of you now and over time. The stronger the relationship, the more likely they’ll stay loyal, give you more business, and refer you to their friends and business associates.

Nurturing your client relationships is in many ways just as important as the work you do for them. I encourage you to reach out periodically to your clients just to check in. Or to take them to lunch for no special reason. It may be challenging to find the time to do it, but I strongly suggest you make the time.

Business runs on relationships and depends on relationships. In every meeting and communication, make your clients feel important and cared for. Remember: The quality of your relationships will determine the quality of your business…and your life.

If you want support in improving your business relationships and building new ones, contact me at phil@coachphil.com.

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