- THE MAGAZINE
Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Over the past 27 years in this industry, I have learned that all of business is about relationships. But what if it wasn’t just “who you know,” but “what you know about who you know?”
And what if it wasn’t about “who you know,” but it was about “who knows you - and what they know about you?” My good friend Bob Burg, bestselling author of Endless Referrals and The Go-Giver, says that people do business with those they know, like and trust.
I built my carpet cleaning business from the trunk of my car to a consistent $2.5-million in high-end cleaning by building high-value relationships. I built strong relationships with clients as well as powerful referral sources. And today, I work with some of the top business authors in the world because of building relationships.
Are you actively building phenomenal relationships? Or are you just relying on casual word-of-mouth or advertising to make your phone ring? How much time do you invest in business relationships? Or, are you kind of stuck at the end of a wand or buried in paperwork?
In today’s “TGiF” world (Twitter, Google, iPhone and Facebook), we are more connected, but more isolated than ever before. I personally love social networking and actively network on Facebook. But I also make time to connect face-to-face, because nothing can replace that. As I write this piece, I’m off to Ohio for three days to do nothing but build a potentially high-value relationship.
There is no promise that I will get anything out of the relationship, but I know that by investing in this person’s cause, understanding them, and serving and adding value, he will know who I am and know what I am about.
American Legend Zig Ziglar says, “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
All too often, small business owners approach a prospect, potential referral source or highly influential people like “Gimme Jimmy.” Gimme Jimmy just goes around saying “gimme, gimme, gimme.” Jimmy is a taker not a giver.
Give and it will be given back to you, pressed down, shaken together and run over. It may not come from the same person, but my experience has shown me that if you give people what they want, they will be more apt to give you want you want.
What do people want? What do they need? People like food, so feed them. Donuts, dinner, lunch, brownies, cookies and candy work. People like money, so pay them. They like gifts, so give them gifts. They like support, so help them. They like a listening ear, so listen well. They like help with their business and their clients, so educate them. They like to be entertained, so show them a good time.
Jim Cathcart, bestselling author of Relationship Selling says that “relationship selling is becoming an asset to others before they become an asset to you.” So, when you want to build a relationship with someone that can benefit your business, first find out what they like, what they want and what they need. Then, simply be the one to give it to them.
Going back to the idea of “it’s what they know about you” for a moment. If you educate highly influential people about your industry and how to solve problems related to your industry, you become the consultant rather than the cleaner.
This is called “education marketing,” but when you couple this with a strong relationship, and all of the elements above, it becomes experiential, which ties people to your brand emotionally. A relationship makes it deeper and stronger than just a good service.
I recently went to a wedding with my wife. Only friends and family were invited - no one that the lady does business with - except for one: my wife. Why? Because my wife has become a friend.
My friend Jeffrey Gitomer, bestselling author of the best customer service book I ever read Customer Satisfaction is Worthless and one of the very best books on networking called The Little Black Book of Connections, says: “All things being equal, people would rather do business with a friend. All things being not so equal, people would still rather do business with a friend.”
You see, you can have a higher price than someone else and your customers and referral sources will wait for your schedule to open up if they feel like a friend. While others are begging at the front door, trying to get by the gatekeeper, you are being graciously invited in through the back door.
Can't Don't and...Won't
If people don’t know about you, they obviously can’t use you or refer you. If they don’t like you, they don’t use you or refer you unless they absolutely have to. And if they don’t trust you, they won’t use you or refer you.
Finally, building relationships requires leadership on your part. My good friend John C. Maxwell says that leadership is influence. Nothing more, nothing less. We all have influence in someone’s life. How do you get influence? By adding value to others.
John says “if you don’t add value to others, you de-value them.” This of course goes for your staff as well. Add value to them and they will add value to you.
Finally, a little bonus item to take home with you: If there are things you want to be, do or have in your life or business, get around people who are already doing what you want to do. Add value to them by serving them, paying their fee, donating to their charity, or whatever you have to do.
Remember, all of business is about relationships. You can know everything there is to know about a truckmount and be broke! Not to say that being technically savvy isn’t important. It is, but you can be the most technical person in the world and not have a successful business.
Well, I’m off to invest in some relationships. Please let me know if this was valuable to you by popping me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on Facebook.
Until then, be phenomenal!