“All things being equal, people do business with people they like. All things not being equal, people still do business with people they like.”
Say what you will about the efficiencies of technology like emails, text messages, social media posts and even the telephone… the best business is still conducted face-to-face.
That was validated and confirmed for me yesterday… when I flew to Pittsburgh to meet with a client to talk about planning for 2014.
We started out by just catching-up and talking about our personal lives… not because it was some kind of parlor-trick rapport-builder, but because we are genuinely interested in each other’s well-being. These are very nice people… I enjoy their company and I think they enjoy mine.
Professionally, there’s a healthy level of respect for each other, as well. So, when it came time to talk business… it was as collaborative as it could be. We didn’t always agree on a point, but we would talk through it, weigh options and finally settle on a decision. Like professionals. And like people who don’t care who gets the credit… just so long as we make progress toward their goals.
That kind of personal and professional relationship is simply not possible if the only basis for it is an occasional email, tweet or LinkedIn message. And yes, phone calls are better… but there is simply nothing as powerful as being able to look someone in the eye when you talk with them.
Bottom line… this client is extending our work together through next year and expanding the services that we provide them. Yeah, it’s because we’re pretty good at what we do… but it’s also because we like each other and want to see each other do well.
Here’s another phrase that bears repeating, “People don’t care how much you know… until they know how much you care.” Approach your clients with that mindset … and you can’t help but be successful.