Connecting is the art of building relationships; relationships that last. It’s the forming of bonds with people that can grow into deeper, closer, more meaningful relationships.
Making close connections is essential because people prefer to work and interact those with whom they feel connected. They share common interests, feelings, values, and beliefs. They trust them and want to help them more. Instead of concentrating on closing one-time sales, work to build close, long-term connections that will endure.
Be honest and build trust. Exaggerating and falsifying may help produce quick sales, but over time, they will do you in. Overstating and failing to deliver as promised kills relationships because customers want what they were promised. Few will continue to conduct business with those who have not kept their word. Not delivering precisely as promised is the best way to ruin your reputation and brand.
To create solid connections, follow these suggestions:
- Perfect your art. Deliver top quality. Do what you do excellently, as well as it can be done. “There is no substitute for quality,” T. Harv Eker states. If the quality you provide is outstanding, you don’t have to do lots of networking. People will network for you. They will tell others about you and recommend you. People love to refer others to those who provide the top quality.” It makes them look good.
- Stick to the facts. It’s easy to exaggerate and promise more than you can deliver, but it doesn’t pay. Be honest. Connect with potential customers by telling them the results your goods and services have achieved. Better yet, document the results, put on demonstrations, and show them proof. Provide them with endorsements from satisfied customers; take them to sites to your goods or services in operation with other customers. Then explain to your prospects exactly how you can help them.
- Don’t promise too much — especially if you may not be able deliver. Be completely honest. It’s better to lose a sale and stay on good terms with the prospect than to land the sale and subsequently alienate the customer. If your honesty costs you a deal, think of it this way: the customer may remember your truthfulness and call on you again. However, if you over-inflate or fail to deliver, your future with that prospect will be doomed, over, kaput. Plus, aggrieved customers tend to tell their friends about their dissatisfaction — especially when they feel they were intentionally deceived.
- When you’re looking for business, offer your goods or services at an attractive price. Be fair and don’t gouge; build trust. Give potential customers a price incentive for giving you their business. When you have performed well for them, you can use them showcase to sell future customers. You will also have forged connections with satisfied customers who will give you repeat business and recommend you to others.
Obtaining repeat business is highly cost effective. It runs about 80% less than the expense of attracting new clientele. Dick Bruso, founder of Heard Above the Noise™ (www.heardabove.com) points out that working through referrals gives you more time. The average business person spends 25 to 30% of his or her time trying to reach those they need to conduct business. In contrast, a person who works by referrals only spends about 5% of his or her time getting to those they want to meet.
Ask satisfied customers to give you endorsements or letters of commendation. Have them write on their letterheads how excellently you performed. Post the commendations on your Web site, hang copies in your office, and keep them in a scrapbook that you can show potential customers. Insert them in your brochures and sales materials.