So often in business when you ask a colleague who they learned from that got them to where they are today, often a parent is mentioned.
Today on this Father’s Day, I reflect on what an amazing Dad I have and at 89-years old, I’m still learning from him how to be a better business person, colleague and human-being. All relationship marketing skills that helped him to be successful in business and life.
I often write on relationship marketing tips that involve using LinkedIn. This post simply talks about practical tips I learned from my Dad and in my own life.
In today’s digital world, we have had to learn to meet and communicate in a variety of forms if we want to be relevant to those we serve. My dad is no exception. In his quest as a life long learner and as a retired business owner, he has learned how to email, find files in his computer, add attachments, leave and answer voice messages, use a smartphone and text.
Adapting Communication Methods
We all have a variety of customers and employees we serve and communicating has become not only more complex but requires more thoughtfulness and understanding of who you want to communicate with and learning their preferred method of communication.
In my Dad’s case, he golfs in a league with a group of guys many decades his junior. Their golf schedule is posted to a webpage and in order to know what your tee time is and who you are playing with from week to week, you must get online. On Sundays, Dad plays a round with some of the guys from the league and to get notification of the course and tee time, the info is communicated via text. My Dad’s learned to adapt to the communication style of those he golf’s with because that’s how the majority communicate and he still wants to play with them.
Do the research on people you want to do business with
My Dad was selling a piece of property he owned with his partners this year and they ran across roadblocks with zoning issues. Rather than getting frustrated and complaining, he took it upon himself to learn about the city council members, the mayor and other city officials that would be at the upcoming session where they planned to bring up a change of zoning. The council voted against their request for rezoning initially until my Dad who had researched the votes and learned about the mayor to approach him with specific reasons why their property was good for the city. The mayor overturned the vote and rezoned the property. What I learned was when you take the time to learn about people, their history and what their interests are you often pave the way for getting the result you want.
Listen – #1 most important skill you can develop
We’d rather talk than listen, keeps us in control, and the center of attention.
In fact, doesn’t it seem in business situations you get the feeling the person you are talking to is thinking “I hope she shuts up soon so I can start talking about me.”
I was hired by a manufacturing company to come in and do a LinkedIn training because the owner saw his competitors were active on LinkedIn.
After the 1st days training the sales manager pulled me aside and said many of the engineers he was working with were young men who didn’t want to talk on the phone, they wanted to text. Now the sales manager was in his 50’s and he had to learn to adapt to a different way of communication. His prospects were telling him how they wanted to do business and he had to listen and adapt, just as I mentioned in the example above about my Dad.
Times have changed for all of us – how we do business has changed. Listen and people will tell you what they need.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.“-Stephen Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Nurture relationships & be helpful
Show you are actually interested in the relationships you are most about both personally and professionally.
In business, my Dad knew which of his customers liked to fish, hunt or golf. He made it a point to get to know people personally. To this day, former business associates still inquire if he fishes or plays golf.
In today’s business world, we so often engage people online before we meet offline. But we can learn alot about people by searching their social media sites and website. The majority of people have a personal and professional social presence but it does take effort to research and engage in a meaningful way online.
Look for opportunities to help in every social interaction. This keeps you top of mind and quite frankly positions you as someone who gives and this assures those you want to do business with about your character.
“Conversations are not a promotional opportunity”
Practice real-world skills
Dad says it’s simple to build good relationships, just do these things:
- Ask better questions
- Be curious about others – learn about their families
- Don’t discount who other people know – ask for introductions
- Be helpful
…“and sometimes in business and life you just have to play the hand your dealt. Everything will work out in the end.”
Thanks, Dad will call you later. –