It’s crazy isn’t it? Never before in the history of the world have humans been so connected to one another through so many different communications options. Landline phones, Crackberries, Bluetooth devices, multiple email accounts, SMS, Instant Messaging, VoIP calling, Twitter accounts, LinkedIn, Facebook,…and that just describes the communication methods of my thirteen year-old daughter.
Still, communication continues to be one of the most significant obstacles to successful relationship-building in a business environment. So how do we create outstanding interpersonal connections with prospects in order to enhance our relationships? There are many factors that play into this. However, we believe there are three main components that must exist before solid communications with exchange partners can occur: relevance, timeliness and reliability.
Relevance. Simply providing information to prospects is not, within itself, enough to enhance communications and further the relationship. The information exchanged must be perceived as being relevant to the respective recipients. This is even more important in today’s world where information overload is reaching SPAMdemic proportions.
As salespeople, we must be selective with regards to the information we attempt to push to prospects. With every outreach, we should ask ourselves, “Will this information truly and uniquely answer a prospect question or help aid in solving a prospect problem?” If not, you’re likely wasting your time and making little headway in cultivating a deeper relationship. If so, you’re on your way to making a new BFF.
Timeliness. The timing of the information exchange is also critical to its impact on relationship development. Really good outreach efforts at a really bad time in the life of a prospect will at best, be ignored, and at worst, create a perception that you’re self-serving and insensitive. Many times, it’s impossible to know whether or not your communication efforts are coming at a good time or not. So ask. Simple courtesies such as asking, “Is this a good time to talk about this?” will be appreciated.
Reliability. This piece of the communications pie can only be illustrated over time. Great communication doesn’t happen overnight, but instead improves as interactions occur over time and information exchanges are shown to be accurate and dependable. While we may not be able to remember the details of each of these interactions, our minds appear to be able to store assessments of these various touch points. Thus, we develop overall feelings about certain people and whether or not their word can be trusted.
While it’s impossible to do justice to the topic of communications in the context of a blog, the simple practice of focusing on relevant, timely and reliable communications methods will help overcome barriers to personal interaction and improve overall relationship commitment and trust.
All the best,