At the heart of every business are relationships. In my industry of technology services, this is especially true.
We have to meet with the potential client, get to know them, ask them questions, wine and dine them, pay for the meal, all as we gaze in their eyes and make them feel loved. I call that the first date.
Business is a romance.
Sometimes it’s love at first sight, and you’re married off in a civil court. But usually, it takes at least a few dates together to see if there is a good fit. You probably won’t be holding hands with your clients, but there needs to be chemistry.
If you make the relationship the primary concern, you will yield better results. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s true. And why wouldn’t it? At the core of most businesses is trust, not money. Your potential customers have to be willing to trust you with some service, product, etc.
Trust is akin to love.
If you can maintain this mindset, you will spend more time thinking what is best for your customer, speaking in ways that they best understand, caring about what they care about, doing the things that make them feel loved.
And the converse is true, too. If you think about money more than the customer, you will focus on what you can get out of them, find ways to lessen the service or quality to widen your margins, seeing them more as piggy bank than a person.
Of course at some point this analogy breaks down. But, there is more truth here than not.
Building a business that lasts, requires us to take the long view, which means seeing it as a relationship.