Think about your best friend. It could be your spouse or someone you grew up with. It could be someone you work with or someone you went to school with. Whatever the case, those relationships were built over time by spending time together.
Our business community has become enamored with technology and ways to do things faster and cheaper. I am all for efficiency and saving money when possible. However, the area where you cannot go fast and cheap is in the area of relationships. With the advent of email and text messaging, we have pushed the relationship building to how much and how often we “touch” someone as opposed to how much time we spend with them.
To get to know someone, you must spend time with them and develop the relationship. This applies to our business networks, our team members, our vendors and most importantly our customers. You cannot depend on email, texts, newsletters, blogs, etc. to build these relationships. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying these are not important tools and don’t have a place in our business processes. However, they cannot take the place of spending time with people.
The best investment you can make in your business and your future is to spend time and build relationships that go deep. Take time to get to know people. Remember that people are the lowest common denominator in our businesses. People make, buy, deliver, sell and consume our products and services. Yet, we will sacrifice the relationships by depending solely on email or text to communicate.
It is in conversation you discover people’s wants, needs, fears, suspicions, problems and perspective. Conversation takes a commitment of time and it is not a one-time event.
Make it a priority to develop deeper relationships with people. It will pay huge dividends in the quality of the relationships and the opportunities to help and serve one another. Focus on the other person and learning about them. Find ways to help them and they will find ways to help you.
Remember you cannot take without putting something in first. Invest some time in building relationships and watch what happens to your business. It is much more fun to have a cup of coffee with someone than to fire off an email. Find and focus on ways to build relationships with people. Make it a priority to spend time with people. Not only will it help your business, it will bring joy to your life.