May 18, 2021 by Cheryl Viola, Executive Director, MBA
Relationships shape our lives in ways we could never expect. When it comes to business the most important thing is not finding new customers, it is managing and cultivating the existing relationships. Both internally (coworkers) and externally (customers). A 5% increase in customer retention can lead to a 25% increase in profits – Bain & Co.
Recently I listened to a speech given in 2019 by a college valedictorian. Kyle Martin described how he set the goal to become the valedictorian and sacrificed for that goal. Martin said: “Working hard is good, but it should not be done at the expense of the relationship with others”.
When we strive towards a goal, we put in the time, energy, and sacrifice to achieve that goal. I trained and prepared for a 5K race. The day of the race came, I was alone, there was no one there cheering me on. While running I kept pushing myself to go faster. After the last runner came in and the organizers were announcing winners in various age groups, I was shocked to learn that I had come in first place in my age group. I was proud of myself but also deflated at the same time that no one was there to share in the joy with me. The feeling of euphoria was short-lived, and I began looking for another goal to work towards. As humans, we thrive on relationships. We need them. Martin explained that we need to live life so that there are no regrets. He said, “Nothing is more important than your healthy relationships. Your relationships are where we get to influence, impact and change people’s lives. Your life cannot be meaningful without them.”
We all have different experiences, challenges, and victories. It is the differences in the triumphs and tragedies that come upon us that shape us. Relationships are key to a happy and healthy life. Building good relationships means that we need to do so with purpose.
Becoming a good relationship builder means we exercise relationship skills daily.
- eye contact
- listening with intention
- be generous with your time
- lose the distractions
Learning to connect with others takes time. The more we do it the easier it becomes. The result of connecting with others develops better relationships with employees and associates. We can form deeper relationships with everyone.
- Improve communication skills
The more we learn to communicate the easier it becomes giving us more confidence which will result in more business opportunities.
Once I met a young account representative. This delightful young woman initiated the contact. She came to my office, introduced herself and we had a wonderful conversation. I invited her to attend a Business After Hours networking event with me. When she arrived at the event, I saw how this young woman who I thought was confident, become timid and insecure. I walked her up to a table, waited for a break in the conversation, made introductions, and then left. She needed a little mentoring to assist her in relationship building. The next time I saw her she was soaring. Her confidence level had increased and she was able to strike up a conversation on her own.
2. Build Friendships
We do business with those whom we trust. If a friend recommends a business, we are more likely to go to that business because of the trust level with the person who referred us. These friendships benefit our lives personally and professionally.
3. Strengthens Teams
When you focus on building relationships, you build stronger teams. Relationships grow on mutual respect and caring for another. Supporting one another and that will bring more productivity and innovation.
Martin concluded by saying that new relationships are formed throughout all of our experiences. Be generous with your time, mend fractured relationships, and have no regrets. Make the time to nurture relationships.