“The more you invest in a marriage, the more valuable it becomes.”

Amy Grant

If it looks like a relationship, acts like a relationship, smells like a relationship… it isn’t always a relationship. For all those in sales, management, and leadership roles, think about what I just said.

In our personal relationships and in marriage, it would be fair to say a healthy relationship involves levels of honesty, trust, respect, fairness, love, and open communication, correct?

Relationships are a necessary part of healthy living, but there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Relationships take time, effort, patience, respect, giving and caring.

In healthy relationships you:

  • Can express yourselves to one another without fear of consequences
  • Trust each other
  • Are honest with each other
  • Maintain and respect each other
  • Feel secure and comfortable
  • You appreciate each other

Therefore, would you agree that client relationships are a necessary part of a healthy business? Would any of the above apply to your current client relationships?

I’m deeply concerned that what constitutes a client relationship has become lost inside the sales world.

Where is the significant depth and genuine meaning? Does the walk match the talk?

What many in sales think is a relationship, may not be what it really is.

It is my belief that before anyone in sales, management, or leadership throws the term, “We have great client relationships”, “We love our clients” or “We’re client-centric” on the business table and out into the community, then they should give some serious thought as to what it really means to them and how they will execute on it.

Again, does the talk match the walk?

This is such a terrific quote courtesy of Mark Gungor, author of “Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage”,

“Marriage problems are relationship problems, they are the result of how two people interact with each other. You may abandon a troubled marriage, but you will still bring the way you interact with others along with you.”

How are you interacting with your clients?

PERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS, MARRIAGE, AND SALES

I would like for everyone to stop and really give some thought to this…

What would happen if you went 90 days without speaking to, looking at or even hugging your significant other?

It’s fair to say most couldn’t go more than a day.

Then why on earth do some of you go 90 days (most instances even longer) without communicating and showing how much you care about your clients?

Call me delusional (I’ve been called worse) but let’s get real. Without clients, you have no business.

Without a real, loving, caring, and meaningful relationship you have no marriage. Are you starting to smell what I am cooking?

It’s time to wake up and stop taking advantage of your most precious asset, your clients!

If you want a relationship, crave a relationship and it means something to you then you must be direct and intentional about it.

You would never say to your significant other, “It’s been a bit, I’m just touching base to make sure everything is OK.”

Why on earth are we calling our clients and saying the following:

  • “I’m calling to see if you need anything”
  • “I know it’s been a bit, how are you doing”
  • “My apologies, I know it has been a bit….”

You all can do much better. Now think about this… Are you babysitting (at best) some of your clients until someone else comes along who truly values what it means to be in a business relationship?

Truth is in the eye of the beholder. Where do your client relationships sit?

MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS MATTER

To build these types of relationships, you must understand as humans we crave and value relationships.

To build substantive relationships, you must have attentive conversations with your clients.

This means when you’re speaking with them, you’re entirely focused on them, and learning about them through intentionality.

Why do I say this… Well, in a world where trust and being seen as trustworthy are at alarmingly low levels, you must just prove it. And how do you prove it, when you rarely visit with and interact with your clients?

Credibility and true meaning provide:

  • Connectivity (knowing we’re in this together)
  • Support (knowing we’re helping each other)
  • Validation (knowing we feel the same way)

To build meaningful client relationships, you must continually create new memories together. This becomes unattainable with spotty, intermittent, and twice a year visits.

The more you give, ultimately the more you receive.

A HEALTHY BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP IS SIMILAR TO A HEALTHY MARRIAGE

Just like marriages, businesses that are built around partnerships tend to have a better chance of success than those that aren’t. When it comes to the world we live in today, I believe that business is personal.

The more personal the better the connection. The more comfortable you make your clients feel about you, the more comfortable they will become in sharing their business secrets with you. This becomes unachievable when you rarely see your clients.

Care and compassion are how we connect

Compassion helps forge strong bonds. Letting your clients know that you will be with them every step of the way, no matter what can go a long way in the success of any business partnership.

A past study on “happy marriages” conducted and published by Cornell University showed that, despite the numerous variables that exist with every relationship, they found common traits within successful marriages.

  • Effective communicate
  • Work as a team
  • Similar to you (alignment of values)
  • Commitment

I must ask all of you… Isn’t this what you desire with your client relationships?

How can you maintain happy, healthy, and harmonious relationships with your clients? You invest in them. You care for them. You proactively visit with them. You prove it.

What are you doing right now to ensure your client relationships don’t end in a divorce?

Think of the following relationship equation with every one of your clients.

Engage + Excite/Conversation x Caring = Meaningful relationship

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