In his books, Bob Burg discusses the three steps of building relationships with other people, whether they may be business owners, prospects, customers, clients, family, friends, or everyone else. We do business with those who we know, like, and trust. We provide referrals to those who we know, like, and trust. We build relationships with those who we know, like, and trust.
How do we get to know anyone? When we first meet someone we must attempt to get to know who they are, how they operate their business, and what kind of person they are. This requires some work on our part. We should devote time to meeting with them, having maybe several conversations with them, and asking questions. If they are forthcoming, we decide if they are people with whom we want to form a relationship.
Maybe we ask them how long they have lived wherever they are, where they lived before, how they began their business, and how they are building it. If they are in career transition, or want to be, what do they want to do, what are their dreams, and how have they determined what their aspirations are? What are their hobbies, and how do they spend their time when they aren’t working?
Then we must decide if we actually like the other person. We might be able to build a relationship with someone whom we don’t like, but it is very difficult to do so with a person that we actually dislike. There is a difference between not liking someone and disliking them. What is there about them that we dislike? Is it their attitude, their interpersonal skills, their intelligence, or their appearance?
Never, ever, prejudge someone before attempting to discover more facts about them. As we discover more and more information about someone we may find that we actually were wrong in our initial impression. We may find out that we like someone, but we may also discover that we actually dislike them. Facts will help us be correct.
The last step is trust. Trust should not come easily and must be the true basis for any business relationship. If we are to refer someone to anyone else, we must trust both parties. That means that we are risking our reputation with both of the parties and have the trust to do that. Referrals are a two way street, and we must know, like, and trust both parties. We might get a referral wrong sometimes, but we are only human.
Trust also means that we can rely on the other party to provide advice that is meaningful and supportive, but it is always truthful. If two parties have the other’s success in mind, they must attempt to help the other towards that success, even if it means being totally truthful and not just saying what they want us to say.
As we practice Gratitude Marketing we should look to building relationships before we attempt to sell whatever we offer. Through the 3 steps of getting to know each other, deciding if we like each other, and becoming trustful of each other, we can build strong relationships that will return business and referrals to all of us.