A popular belief, and one which I endorse 100%, is that relationships build businesses. I have always said that anybody could sell anything to a person once. A second sale to the same individual is telling. But it is the third sale to the same person that starts the relationship.
Relationship conjures up the idea of personal loyalty to me. The qualities that come attached include trust, respect, understanding, appreciation, open and honest communication, and kindness. How are you doing with these six attributes?
A funny thing about relationships is that they are always changing. They are fluid. Relationships evolve over time and they all come attached with some disheartening news. Although they may take years to develop, they can only take a single mistake, word, over-sight or miscue to come crashing to an end. Relationships by their very nature are fragile.
Here is an exercise worth a little of your time. On a sheet of paper list the qualities you feel are important when developing solid business relationships. List these in a column down the left-side of your paper. The draw two columns to the right. Label one “Support” and the other “Erode.”
Next to each favorable quality you listed, list the things you are doing now to either support or erode the quality. This will clearly tell you where you need to pay a little more “focused” attention.
Now for your final homework assignment, on another sheet of paper list the names of your “A-List” customers. My guess is you may have anywhere from 10 to 25 names. (Not 200.) Then ask yourself this question: “Is there anything I can do today, or this week, to strengthen my relationship with these customers?” If your answer is “no,” then you have another seven days until you ask yourself the same question next week. If the answer is “yes,” then you have work to do.
Mike Marchev is always looking for a few more proactive travel professionals to join his Sales and Marketing Club. Send for details.