I love interviewing people – I learn much, cultivate relationships by ‘listening well’ rather than just by ‘asking well’. Not softball questions. Inquiring ones – curious ones, interested ones, uncomfortable ones. Outside comfort zones is where people reveal themselves. Uncomfortable, but genuine. I like that. Yesterday I did another one I can’t wait to write it up and publish it in next week’s issue.
Building relationships is easy. Give me forty, maybe fifty years, and I’ll teach you how – because that’s how long it took me …
Your best work, best play – best times, best days – weren’t with people you didn’t know, didn’t like or didn’t trust, were they?
Feedback helps. Listening helps. Trying over and over, not being tripped up by failures, failed attempts, human failings – keep going, keep trying, keep learning, keep listening.
Relationships cultivated of, by and for reasons of wanting to have relationships – with people you know, like and trust – are, it turns out, at the root of all good things.
Long ago, I distanced myself from early shoe retailing days (began part-time in high school) when opening lines were ‘good morning, would you like to try that one in your size?’ – a process of trying things on to see what fits, a conversation process. Filling wants, not just needs, solving problems – but selling what I wanted to sell.
Over time, improved processes, professional sales tactician, asking (about each opportunity/prospect), ‘is it real, is it worth it, can I win?’
Old ways, in time, give way to newer ways. New approaches come into vogue. Xerox-type training, consultative selling, Myers-Briggs derivatives, etc. – so many. Fashionable for a while, then some new trend, technology, tools, techniques … seeking improvement, distinction, differentiation, from competitors. Do more, do it better …
It is really hard to change from that ingrained training of ‘ask open ended questions’ and ‘always be closing’.
It’s: stop selling, start giving, ask interesting questions of interesting people and pay attention to those answers – engage in knowing someone, because you care and because they are interesting …
Simple. Really. Repeat daily …
Relationships are not built on more giving than taking, but rather on giving without expectation of taking.
You won’t feel hit-on-the-head when this happen, but you’ll know. Nobody else need know. Not because it is a secret, but because it simply needs to be felt/realized. It doesn’t need to tooted or touted.
I have a friend. My database tells me we met in 2002. We had a couple of dates, magic didn’t happen. We’ve become friends, occasional golf buddies. And we’ve done business with each other, trust each other, like each other. I’m touring her through some properties this afternoon.
She’ll try some on. We’ll see what fits.
I’ve learned it isn’t about sales relationships at all. It’s about relationships with people I know, like and trust – not by accident, but on purpose.
P.S.: while finishing this piece – and email came in from a relatively new friend (two years) who is leaving the country for a new job. We had a farewell lunch other day. I flies out tomorrow, but took time this morning to send me a referral to a friend of his who needs help with finding new offices. Nice! Thanks, KE!
written / published from Calgary, AB
morning walk: 4C/40F, another mostly clear same calm rainless spring day shaping up – I LOVE global warming; Gusta wanted a long than usual walk today – she held off her poop stop until she was certain she’d exhausted my patience, which too a while – so we’ve had a healthy workout ..
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