As a general manager, I get invited to a lot of work conferences and social gatherings. But when you get invited by a premiere supplier to hang out in Tahoe for 3 days, you say yes!
So often we measure our relationship "success" by the number of followers or likes we get. My personal philosophy (as well as the one FSI operates on) is based on the importance of relationships. Both with our clients, our vendors, and our internal team.
This conference was the perfect reminder why investing in relationships is key to the success of any organization.
Why Relationships Are Key
After over 25 years of selling floors, we still use a number of the same manufacturer reps since day one. And it's because we invest in them that they invest in us.
Lately I've been trying to up our social media game. I love how it allows me to make new relationships, stay in touch with old ones, and share information I care about.
But it's so easy to get stuck behind a screen. I also know the value of a phone call and saying hi to a stranger.
It's my goal to find a way to merge the two. Have the best of both worlds. And this work conference was the perfect way to try.
You Can't Fake Awesome
When I got to Tahoe I was tired from the long drive. I could have easily just watched some TV in my hotel room. But I gave myself a pep talk and prepared to show up.
I recognized a few familiar faces but there were plenty of new faces I didn't recognize. The cool part is that the hosts of the show found a way to help forge new relationships. Visit each manufacturer, get your card punched and win a prize. Game on.
Honestly, the idea of talking to so many people seemed overwhelming at first but this was just the incentive I needed.
I put on my big boy pants and the race was on. To my surprise, I met a lot of new people over the course of the couple days and learned a lot about new products and installation methods.
- New products to help our customers
- New tools for our installers
- Some great hands on learning.
It felt really good to build some new relationships and believe it or not, it was easier than I thought. Here are a few techniques I used.
3 Things You Can Start Doing Now
1. Show Up
- Sounds basic but how many times have we said no, sorry, I can't make it. You can't build any effective relationships without first, being present. So show up!
2. Be Nice
- Now that you are present, this is where is gets tough. Remember, a smile and a handshake go a long way. So, be polite, say thank you, appreciate their time and effort and be attentive. Attentive to them. Put the phone down!
3. Follow Up
- Make the call. Tell them you appreciate their business, the relationship or the partnership you have built. Whatever it is, communicate the importance of their relationship to you and your business.
If you remember just one thing ...
Your time is one of your most precious resources. When you dedicate that to someone, you show them you care. So get out there, spend some time and make the connection. Be present, be nice and follow up!