Relationships Determine your Success

If you spend any time looking for ways to ‘market’ your business you will hear all about growing your list, creating lead magnets and funnels, increase your subscribers and followers, etc. Which is fine…however…

Your success directly correlates to the size of your relationships, not the size of your list.

Many will argue with me about this – but let’s explore this concept. 

EVEN IF you cultivate a list, 9 times out of 10 they stick with you, become clients, or refer you due to the relationship that follows that initial reason they joined your list. Building out that connection to bring them into your circle of influence takes intentionality and consistency.

When we understand this and build a strategy to create community and a sense of belonging for people, we increase our ‘knowability’ and ‘approachability’ factors. People will feel like they know us deeper and more personally than they actually do because they are a part of a bigger whole.

As you interact with your community, your circle, in either one-way or two-way dialogue, that familiarity is born and nurtured. As a result, the relationships you build from that point exponentially increase your sales, referrals, reputation, and success.

You might be wondering – how do I build these strong relationships without having to spend considerable time meeting people one-on-one? It really isn’t that difficult. Here are my top suggestions:

Go on a Coffee-Encounter Diet

Just stop. You do not have to endure ‘coffee’ with everyone you meet. It doesn’t require this individualized attention to build a solid relationship. Besides that, the chances of it being a productive or effective meeting are, at best, a 33% chance. 

Here is what I have experienced with these “one-on-one coffee encounters”  – one of these 3 scenarios:

Steamroller Effect: All the other person wants to accomplish is to sell me on their products and services. They just came to acquire a new client with no regard for if I even am in the market for what they provide.

Monologue Swap: We each share what we do (often in exhaustingly great detail) and often feel like the other person didn’t really listen but just wanted it to be their turn so they can verbally vomit on us and flat out ask for referrals.

Real Connection: Rare though this is, I have had a few real connections made with these coffee chats. But those were so few and far between that I opt for other ways to build relationships. This does NOT mean they became a client. Don’t underestimate the value of Real Connections with others – it is often those people that build your community for you.

So if these are the most common scenarios for ‘coffee’ (not in equal proportion) why do people still do it? There are different reasons. One could be: Ego. Many people believe down to their toes that everyone should know them, be exposed to the superior products and services they offer, and WANT to meet with them. Even if that is partially true and you CAN help just about everyone – not all need it right now. 

Another reason: Tradition. The old 1-on-1 meet is the standard, still taught and expected in many industries. New alert:  you certainly don’t need to meet with people individually for an hour (or more) to find out a bit about who they are, what they do, or to show them who you are and what you do.

Instead of meeting each person individually, be incredibly selective with these types of encounters. Go for quality instead of quantity. Use other strategies and methods to first determine which people to meet with individually and which to meet and develop relationships within a community or group setting.

Increase your Circle

Here is a possible way to increase your circle of influence while at the same time decreasing the amount of time and energy you spend cultivating it (and a list or following)…Intentionally be involved in a community and cultivate solid relationships with others involved – possibly clients or not. 

First question you may have…Do I have to build my OWN community? 

Answer: Yes and No

Yes, you have to cultivate your own Circle. And your Circle is a community. However, that can happen by being actively involved in other people’s communities instead of starting our own.

Let me give you an example:

Say you are a Travel Agent…you attend a few networking groups and are involved in a few travel enthusiast groups.

While meeting others within all of these communities you get to be known as ‘the travel guy’. Great! All those people are now part of YOUR circle of influence.

You can, if you want, invite them to get involved in an event, community, or simple an on-line community that you bring value to. Or, you can even have actual events (small or large) – but you don’t have to. 

But here is the kicker – community changes the conversations. When you build these communities around you there is space to share successes, failures, challenges and triumphs….all of which bring that sense of closeness and familiarity to the relationship. It reduces the ‘threshold resistance’ – that fear some have of crossing the threshold into a business to engage in their services.

It allows others to help you and provide you with resources and even referrals and they feel great about it because they want to do it – no sense of obligation involved. You have formed a relationship with them and that prompts them to see you as credible, viable, and able to solve problems for them, or people they know, when the opportunity presents itself.

This directly is opposite of a ‘coffee-chat’ unless you continue to cultivate that relationship as well. If you don’t, then the brief and isolated encounter with them will be a blip on their radar and you will not stay top of mind. And sense most likely they don’t need your products or services AT THAT EXACT TIME, you lose out. 

If you are consistently showing up, building that relationship, and providing value to a specific circle of folks then when they do need what you provide – there you are. Ready. Willing. Able.

It is about accumulating an audience around you – knowing who is in the audience and specifically and intentionally providing value and building those relationships based on something other than a quick sale.

Keep in mind that we don’t have to treat everyone in the audience exactly the same. And although we won’t get into segmentation and such in this article, just know that you can (and should) provide different value to different segments of your audience based on where they fall in your overall strategy for your circle of influence. Keep your circle ‘clean’, scrub it often, profile it and segment it. Doing so on a regular basis provides great insight into how to market to the right people at the right times.

So, yes, relationships that you build, and the community and circle of influence built as a result, directly determines the amount of business you will bring in…or at the very least, they are an indicator of how hard you will have to work to bring in new business.

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