“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” — Maya Angelou
Recently I had an interesting conversation with a fellow professional in which he asked me:
“How do you handle your relationships with clients?”
I responded telling him that, for me, even though your ultimate goal is to keep a steady flow of business coming in, you can never neglect the importance of the human connection you have with the client.
Empathy is the key to successful professional relationships
Whether working with a client or with a business partner, it’s imperative to keep in mind the importance of the rapport we build with that person.
When we are working with clients, we should be invested in the long term relationship.
If making money is a priority — which for most of us it is — one thing to keep in mind is the residual income that comes along with establishing a relationship that goes beyond a one-time transaction.
Take the time to ensure that your final product is of high quality. But be sure that the quality of your continued support is a thousand times better.
Our client should know that, once they acquire our product or receive our services, their concerns are our concerns.
They need to know that we actually care about their experience, how they feel and that we are 100% at their disposal to ensure that everything is right at all times.
Investing in a future with your client increases the chances they return. It also makes them more likely to brag about you to their peers, and if you’re the talk of the town, that means more business for you.
How quickly you climb the ladder is directly tied to how well you connect with people
You could be one of the most gifted members on your team.
You could be constantly putting out excellent results.
But if your people skills are lacking, those with the keys to certain doors of opportunity might be hesitant to open them up for you.
At the end of the day, the exceptional quality with which you work will still allow you to achieve your professional goals.
However, one thing to consider is how to accelerate that process through excellent communication skills and a legitimate connection with the people you work with.
People do business with people they like
This is a very simple principle.
Let’s think back to high school for a second.
We can agree that students of similar interests always tended to hang out with one another; they spent the majority of their time with the people who a) they liked or b) were similar to them.
By this logic, we can conclude that, when working with business partners or colleagues, it is essential that we continually invest a legitimate human connection.
If you can find a way to make the experience of working with you a pleasant one, that’s good.
If you can discover things you have in common with the other person, that’s even better.
Either way, zeroing in on these types of details is a guaranteed way of getting people to gravitate towards you.
Always be mindful of this.
If you’re relying on someone else’s work to get yours done, let them know that you appreciate their efforts
If you need to send a colleague a Skype message to ask for assistance, you can take 10 extra seconds to say “Good morning” and ask them how they’re doing or how their weekend before sending your request.
The reality is that, even if you could care less about how they’re feeling, at least making them feel like you’re minimally interested in them as a human being will guarantee you a positive response every time.
People are generally more inclined to want to collaborate with others who make them feel appreciated, so remember that a simple “Thank you” can go a very long way.
As professionals, it’s important to know that our soft skills are just as important as our technical skills, and they, too should be able to stand out on our CVs.
Be sure not to neglect them, and you are guaranteed to see just how fruitful they will be for you.