Relationship is powerful. It differentiates a product or service, creates loyalty, and sets you apart from competitors not willing to invest in building relationships.
Companies encourage employees to build better relationships with customers. I teach the basics of relationship building in business and have written about how to do it in my books, most notably The Fred Factor.
But you don’t always have time to build a relationship. Sometimes dealing with customers and clients takes only a few minutes. You may have little or no contact with them later. You don’t have a time to build a “relationship,” nor should you try.
But neither should you simply interact.
There is something between a transaction and a relationship that will benefit your customer and your business. The goal is to create a connection. I define connection as a moment of shared affinity.
At a hotel in Miami, a bellhop who came to pick up a dry cleaning order noticed I was wearing a Harley Davidson tee shirt. “Do you ride?” he asked. That started a brief conversation about our shared interests in motorcycles. I saw him several times throughout my stay and felt a connection based on that brief exchange.
We weren’t friends by any definition, but the connection was a positive part of my stay.
Transactions can be straightforward but often feel sterile. Looking for shared interests, indulging in appropriate humor, or simply noticing and commenting on another person is all it takes to add texture to the interaction and make it a connection.
How do you create stronger connections?
- Pay attention. Notice more about the person you are interacting.
- Look for similarities.
- Comment on what you find interesting.
- Compliment on what you find praiseworthy.
Connecting in this way makes you more human, and it makes your business less sterile. Connecting with another, even briefly, is always superior to simply completing a transaction.