Do your clients actually like you? People pay close attention to the number of ‘likes’ they get for their LinkedIn updates and Facebook posts, but building genuine personal relationships with people in the real world is incredibly important too.
Hollywood films are keen to point out the shallowness of popularity whilst championing the outsiders and, to an extent, the quantity of your contacts in the real, professional world is not necessarily an indicator of success either.
However, it can be. The more relationships you strike up and the more contacts you make, the greater the odds are of translating these connections into sales. The outsider, unconcerned with acceptance is a hero of fiction. In the real world, your business or organisation needs relationships with people.
More important, though, is the quality of these relationships. Even if you are able to deliver your clients success, as they define it, if they do not have a good relationship with you and actually like working with you, they will always be looking for alternatives.
If they discover somebody they get on with better than you who can deliver the same results, your days are numbered.
There is much written about practitioners being too concerned with being liked to make the tough decisions and perform effectively. Certainly, you cannot compromise your professional integrity or values in order to curry favour or remain popular but by building trust, establishing a relationship and using emotional intelligence to connect with people you can make the tough calls without being seen as the villain.
It is in your interest to build this trust and it begins at the beginning. If people you meet at networking events get to like you and “rate” you for who you are and what you can provide, you are more likely to achieve a sale in due course.
If you manage to build a good relationship with a new contact, then not only does it increase the likelihood that you are creating a future client and/or a route to market, but you may find that they have something which would benefit you or someone who could be of use to you. A valuable symbiotic relationship could be taking root.
Wanting to be liked for the sake of being liked and to satisfy your own vanity is not a helpful way to operate. Generating a professional relationship where each party not only appreciates the service provided by the other but genuinely enjoy working together can be hugely beneficial to everyone involved. Life’s not a popularity contest but real friendship can often mean more than a signed contract.