I was recently reading an article about the differences between Canadian and Indian business manners. Interesting topic but what really caught my attention was a quote from Srikantan Moorty, Vice President of Education and Research at Infosys (a huge Indian IT company). He said: “I actually lost a client because I barely talked during a presentation. The report was technically correct. But I was so shy that it was hard to seem persuasive.”
He was partially right but actually wrong! Yes, he was shy but his shyness didn’t prevent him from being persuasive, it prevented him from building a relationship with his prospect. It’s the relationship that matters; not the persuasiveness. People buy on trust and credibility. Positive relationships create trust and credibility. Even if they are buying online they buy because there is something in the website that causes them to trust you or they have been referred by someone or something that they trust.
Think about cold calling. It is the most unproductive way to build your customer base. Why? Because the first contact is a negative contact: “Why are you invading my space? Why should I trust you?”To then try to build a positive relationship is an uphill, virtually impossible challenge.
Think about the more nightmarish networking events. People rushing around thrusting business cards into your hand and asking you to buy. You don’t know them from Adam. Why would you buy from them? You won’t!
Here are some tips on relationship building:
- Be interested; ask questions; research their industry/company
- Listen, listen and then listen some more
- Follow up when you say you will
- Ask yourself ~ how can I help them
- Turn up on time
- Help them
It doesn’t matter if you are Wal-Mart or a Solepreneur. To get and, more importantly, keep good customers you must have good relationships with them.
Remember; it is your responsibility to build and nurture the relationship … not theirs. Who can you help today? How can you build the relationship?