The fundamentals of all business relationships – What’s it all about?
It’s all about Trust and Value…
I have found that many people engage in business relationships, whether with customers, stakeholders or colleagues with the aim to achieve some result or benefit. The reality is that the motivations for goals are often miss appointed or even destructive to the true opportunity exchange.
- Most sales representatives engage with the goal to achieve a sales target and ultimately earn commissions.
- We engage with key stakeholders to achieve personal business gain or leverage their influence for career advantage.
- We engage with our colleagues to to attain endorsement, peer support our perspectives and views of the world.
These objectives, if our drivers, are ultimately unfulfilling to one or more party. They have little or no substance and perpetuate superfluous interactions which are not fulfilling or rewarding.
These misguided goals may be the consequence of great business relationships but should never be the goal. There are only 2 goals that really have any substance. The first is to build trust and the second is to add value.
Build trust and add value – it’s that simple.
Revenue, sponsorship and support follow trust and value. They are the natural consequence of these valid goals.
So what’s the difference in the relationship exchange?
A relationship developed for personal gain or reward is conditional, measured and limited to what is necessary to achieve the result. A relationship built on trust and value is for the gain and benefit of others and is unconditional, generous and not a calculated exercise. If we take this approach the results of our efforts are consistently greater than and calculated approach to give just enough to get.
Let’s remind ourselves of some definitions.
Trust is the demonstration of our personal integrity, our competence and our compassion (in other words that we care). Every single interaction, whether phone call, instant message or email; must demonstrate all 3 of these qualities.
Value is something of importance or benefit. This can be material value or emotional. For example well-being or security.
If our clients trust us and we add value in the product, service or perspective we provide for them then, which is greater value then with others then they will buy from us. If our stakeholders trust us and we add value then they will make time for us, give us full attention and consider carefully how they can help us succeed even when it may not be aligned to their personal objectives. If our colleagues trust us and we add value then they will support us, make time for us and work in true collaboration.
So the question we must ask ourselves is this, “What is my goal?” “Trust and Value?” “Or something else?”
My recourse would be to remember that sometimes what we want can get in the way of what we and others need. And if we focus on the right goals, consistently we achieve so much more than we expected.
We have built our business on trust and value. Clients where we have achieved this actively look for opportunities to engage us because they know they will get the result (value) and then know we won’t let them down (trust). Sometimes though we have to be honest and bold enough with ourselves to walk away from situations where we know we cannot add value and embark on efforts where we know that we can.