Bringing Focus and Objectivity to Relationship-Building
Defining relationships is a tricky business, even under the best circumstances. Is the relationship romantic? Just friends? Making those distinctions involves qualification and, whether we want to admit it or not, some level of quantification. Most agree that family relationships are more important than those with co-workers or clients, but if that priority is not aligned with a person’s behavior, those family relationships can suffer.
The same is true in business relationships. As workflows become more digitized, and the quality of products and services more standardized, relationships are sometimes the only way to differentiate your company’s offering. While this is widely recognized, organizations still often leave the care and maintenance of those critical relationships to chance. The stronger and more collaborative your relationships are, both internally and externally, the deeper the trust and exchange of knowledge and information becomes. The depth of that exchange is what creates unmatchable differentiation in the marketplace.
At Ferrazzi Greenlight, we work with clients to help them distinguish their most important business relationships, and we coach them on how to make those relationships stronger. One of the essential tools we use to introduce a level of objectivity and clarity to relationship-building is our Relationship Quality (RQ) Scale, which measures the depth of each important professional relationship and provides a trajectory for making it more valuable to both parties.
One of the best ways to create and maintain strong relationships is, in Keith’s words, “to lead with generosity.” This does not mean flowers or gifts. While they may be nice to receive, they do not affect the other person’s success the way a well-timed introduction or relevant white paper could. Once you know what is important to your contacts and where they fall on the RQ Scale, you can reach out in ways that are both meaningful and appropriately specific, so that your business contact knows you were thinking explicitly about his or her success.