Get Personal

(As appeared in Commercial Integrator)

After attending the 2017 NSCA BLC, the notion that personal relationships are what matter most was firmly reinforced in my mind. For some time now, I have believed in the importance of attending conferences and trade shows to further identify business opportunities, earn loyal customers, and grow my network. However, I hadn’t realized how important this strategy would also be in building my team.

It’s easy to sit behind a computer, smartphone, or even a telephone and conduct your business. But it is really through personal interaction – a face-to-face meeting, handshake, and the demonstration of thoughtfulness and consideration, that real bonds are formed.

By bringing a personal touch into the mix, the impact of anxiety and tension that may come with the unknown of an unfamiliar person or organization is lowered significantly.

I have found that with lack of familiarity comes a tendency to prejudge others based on past experiences, or bias, with similar people or situations. Breaking down this barrier or misconception through personal interaction allows a real and accurate assessment to be formed (whether good or bad) that can potentially lead to a lasting relationship.

Beyond just a face-to-face meeting, taking time to get to know someone personally, to understand what is important to them, and establish mutual interest, goes a long way toward forming both baseline trust and a lasting bond. Over time, this trust, along with reinforcement of behavior and increased familiarity, can lead to loyalty.

The concept of fostering personal relationships and trust is key to building a business following as well as a successful team. It is often said that you do business with those you “know, like, and trust.” The same is true for hiring and building a strong and loyal team. The consistency you seek in a service provider or vendor who might support you in a jam, is a quality you also look for in an employee.

Commitment levels become stronger when an employee believes they can count on their team for support, are recognized for going the extra mile, and appreciated for their efforts. This commitment leads to stronger bonds as well as a mutually-rewarding relationship. It is not always a matter of price, perks, or “bells and whistles”. An environment which fosters trust, consistency, and authenticity is most compelling.

Whether you are trying to build loyal customers or a committed team, taking the time to get to know the players individually and form a strong, personal relationship is key to achieving success.