I’ve been thinking a lot about why some relationships work consistently over time and why others simply falter or fade? Why do we prioritize working with or investing in some people more than others over a period of time? Why do we refer or introduce some of our relationships to others more often?
I would submit it’s the intersection of 3 key drivers:
- What do our target relationships really need? Understanding that which they’re struggling with, or are challenged to accomplish or really want someone else to take off their plate, help them understand and apply or implement, can all be bucketed in their “relationship needs.”
- What are they NOT getting from others? If you think about it, when it comes to relationships, we’re all competing for mindshare, so what are their other relationships NOT providing for them, satisfying, addressing, or otherwise impacting?
- Lastly, what are our relationship development strengths? What specific assets do we offer that could be of particular value or interest to others? I would submit most of what we bring to the table fall in one of five categories: time, talent, knowledge, access to an influential relationship or behavioral
My supposition is that the more value-add you’re offering to your relationships that are competitive, distinct or unique, the higher priority you become, the more longevity you create in the relationship, and the stronger the relationship pull / gravity – you become an object of interest.
What’s critical is that a) you find distinct or unique value-added approaches to become an object of interest, b) you create, package, market, and sell your unique brand / value-add as an asset to others, and c) that you translate your value-add to impact realized by the other party. If they don’t connect the dot that your value-delivered created a better outcome for them, you will get lost in the market noise.
Thinking about your own portfolio of relationships, why do some return your calls and emails within 24 hours, and others are simply “too busy” to respond?