This post is part of the “Differentiate or Die” Series…
#1: Do Your Homework
With the arrival of the Internet in full force it’s never been easier to find out something about anyone. Just Google them, go ahead! Type their name into Google and run a search. You are bound to find out something you can use to help you bond with them. There’s nothing more flattering than when someone you meet with has obviously taken the time to learn a little bit about you in advance.
#2: Keep Stellar Records of Interactions
As business people we may make hundreds, maybe even thousands of contacts each year making it all the more critical to keep good records. Today’s customer relationship management software such as ACT makes it really easy to effectively track interactions whether they are by email, meetings or phone conversations. Now when we are about to resume conversations with someone we haven’t spoken to in a while, we can go back and see exactly where we left off.
#3: Stay in Touch
There’s nothing worse than not following up with a new contact. You’ve gone through the process of meeting them, now what? Have a system for staying connected, email marketing systems make this easier than ever! Although consistency is key here, be sure to make each contact purposeful and valuable to your contact.
#4: Learn to Listen
We have the ability to hear, but do we always listen intently when our contacts speak? If so we probably wouldn’t forget their name within seconds after they tell us. Pay attention! Seek first to understand and then to be understood. Not the other way around. Most of us are so busy trying to figure out what to say next that we don’t really listen to what the other person is saying.
#5: Your Word is Gospel
As a matter of fact, your word is all you have! It’s gold. Treat it as such. How? Be honest. It’s as simple as that. Abuse it with your contact and you can damage your integrity and credibility with them, possible forever.
#6: Show Respect
Respect for your contact, their actions, beliefs and their time. This doesn’t mean that you have to like it, you just nee to respect it because it’s important to them. Nothing damages a relationship more than utter disrespect. This is even more reason to research your contact and find out what makes them tick. Hey if you can avoid offending someone, why not do it?
#7: Exercise Patience
We live in a world of instant gratification. We want everything yesterday. While this could appeal to some, it reeks havoc on our ability to be patient. Keep your cool and most certainly don’t come off as desperate. And remember it’s okay to be persistent, just not pushy.
#8: Be Genuine
Don’t be afraid to share something about yourself. People do business with people, not companies. Let your contact get to know you, the real you and you’ll see some of your relationships grow to a deeper, more fruitful level.
#9: Be a Giver, Not a Taker
Let your generosity flow and if their is any credence to the law of reciprocation it will all and more come back to you in one way shape or form, but give for the right reasons without expectation of anything in return and allow yourself to experience the joy of giving.