It’s The Relationship, Stupid

I recently had the opportunity to visit with a colleague from another industry. Our discussion was lively and informative. We talked about everything from the changing markets in our respective industries to the lack of branding some areas have.

As the discussion went along, I made the statement, “There is just no substitute for relationship.”

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“You are absolutely right,” she said.

The statement, while not intended to be profound, opened up a discussion about how relationships are the key to success for any business, regardless of age, economic status or market.

Relationships can take many forms. With technology today, a relationship can begin via email or social networking. In fact, that relationship can be just as significant as any “face-to-face” one out there. The world has truly contracted to a smaller place.

That being said… There is still no better way to cultivate a relationship than “in person.” Looking someone in the eye and sharing your ideas has a dramatic impact.

In sales, it is the person with the best relationship who garners the business over the long term.

There is always a cheaper price somewhere, but not everyone has the best relationship.

When times (and budgets) get tight, it is the person with the best relationship that tends to keep the business.

Relationships help communities move forward, attract industries and survive setbacks. It is almost impossible to band together during tough times if you are the only one who is “banding.”

As business leaders, we should take advantage of opportunities to cultivate relationships with one another. Whether at a Chamber of Commerce event, non-profit advisory board, or lunch group, opportunities for relationships are plentiful.

The challenge is to recognize the opportunities and make them a priority for you and your business.

Take the challenge. You will be glad you did, and we all will benefit from it.

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