Producers E Source is dedicated to providing insurance news and sales tips to the insurance industry with the very latest sales advice and news.
I love this publication and learn from every issue and am also fortunate to be a guest contributor.
9 Tips on Relationship Building – Both In Good Times and Through Turbulence
As Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”
We are all aware of the current economic conditions and while I am a true believer of continually nurturing and building our relationships—now more than ever is the time to jump-start your system and to consistently put your tactics and strategies into motion 24/7.
The relationships we build and nurture are the ones that are there for us no matter what-because we have been there for them. Think right now—how often do I touch base to say hello or thank you to my clients/customers/advocates/friends consistently to be on their radar screen all the time.
We live in a world of high technology, yet we need to also think ‘high touch’—and not just to relieve any ‘high stress’ that may be apparent.
Be creative as you think of ways to ‘take care’ of the people who you have worked hard to build trust and advocacy with. This goes back to delivering the type of service and value that is priceless. It is going the extra mile and taking the ‘high road’ as I like to call it—there is less traffic there anyway.
Here are some simple tactics and strategies you can put into practice:
Truly become Interested in others. Do this with sincerity and Integrity otherwise people see right through it. One tool that I use a lot are Google alerts which I set up for people that I want to be able to touch base with often with ideas and interests that pertain to them. You will have opportunities to be ‘in the know’ and can drop them a note or call with information and news.
Nurture and know what you can about the people in your life. I have a list of many topics that I get to know about my relationships ‘over time’. For example here are a few that help me stay connected and reach out with an article, thought, suggestion or idea that they might be interested in:
- Favorite foods/restaurants
- Vacation interests
- School alumni
- Special holidays
- Job promotions/moves
- Who you refer to them
- Who they refer you to
- How you met
- Professional Organizations they are interested in
- Know what ‘motivates’ them
- Know what their concerns are in business
- Know what keeps them up at night and how you might help
Connect and communicate—not just when we want something— much more important when we are there to provide news, insight and a way to help their business or be a supportive ear.Continually create value for your relationships. Be clear and connect with them in the way they prefer. I always ask my relationships—‘what is your preferred method of communication? You have also shown that you are really listening to them—sometimes a forgotten art.
Execute what you say you will do. Often after all is said and done—much more is said than done. Be sure to underpromoise and over deliver. Take the time to follow up on everything that you say you will do and surprise and delight people by doing so. I make a list consistently to be sure that no matter what—I follow up with who and whatever I said I would—again something that often is not always done
Network! To me the word ‘network’ is huge and means many things. I say that ‘networking’ is part of the S Factor—‘sometimes it is strategic and structured for the events you attend—so be prepared. Most of life though is ‘serendipitous ‘networking’’—be aware of every opportunity to meet, connect, reconnect and help someone else. Everywhere in life and every day we may learn something from someone who can give us information that one of our contacts or trusted advisors or advocates would be interested in. So keep your ears open and tuned up and also be sure to continually Nurture your relationships. I can’t say this enough.
Trust is the key to any relationship in good times and otherwise. Work hard to continually build trust with your relationships—and this takes Time. Talk less and listen more –we learn more that way also!
Tell them when you do talk—something that will help them or their business or offer a suggestion, a piece of advice. Do your homework and research consistently.
Take the Initiative to reach out and be connected. If we wait for someone to call or email or meet with us, we might wait a long time. Of course as we build and develop these relationships—it goes without saying that true Integrity is key for any relationship. My Dad always said, “With integrity nothing else matters and without integrity—nothing else matters. I live by this—and it is so true.
Continually create Value with those in your life. What are you delivering to them that makes you stand out. Also value every relationship in what they have given and continue to provide to you. Make sure to let them know how important they are to you. Be Visible and let them know how to easily find you. You are there when they need you. Consistently have your contact information available to them so they don’t have to look for it.
Energy and Enthusiasm are key to continually building relationships that last. Take care of yourself and make sure you plan and prepare each day with goals and ways of measuring. One way I do this is to set a specific goal each day for different clients or relationships. Something as simple as—calling 3 extra people with a message of goodwill or a piece of information, 3 extra emails with the same type of message and I’m a big believer of pulling out pen and paper and not just during the holidays to write a short note of thanks, or a greeting of hello and thinking of you.