In almost any relationship (not just marriage), there is a period in which the parties are utterly thrilled with each other. Whether you are working with a new client, or if a recent job change makes you the new kid on the staff... there seems to be somewhat of a grace period that gives us considerable latitude early in these new relationships. Think about why that might be:
Early in the relationship, people are generally more likely to bring their "A" game; they want to make a good first impression.
- Everyone has ideas. If you are new to a person or group, chances are, at least some of yours are going to seem like they are new ideas, even if they are not. (Your ideas are just new to this person or group.)
- Early in a relationship, both parties are likely to work hard at earning the other's respect. Five months or five years later, it is too easy to assume that you already enjoy someone's respect. As a result, it is tempting to not work quite as hard at earning it.
- When starting a new relationship, people are often more liberal with the use of compliments, consideration and simple manners.
So how can you keep the relationship fresh long after the honeymoon is over?
- Start by asking whether you're still bringing your best game... even with clients you've been serving for five months, five years, or twenty-five years.
- Realize that you likely have competitors who are courting this prospect when you're not there to defend your track record; the evidence of how you have helped this client—recently—must be more compelling than the competition's promise of future performance.
- Be polite. Say "Please." And for heaven's sake, say "Thank you" with every order.
- Constantly improve on your personal capabilities. That way, you will continue to bring new ideas and innovative solutions for the client to consider... which is one of the things that made them fall in love with you in the first place.
The novelty of a relationship may fade over time, but the respect, appreciation and value of a relationship can last a lifetime... if both parties are prepared to work hard and if neither feels they are being taken for granted.
If you are not already receiving our blog posts via email, subscribe to our blog to receive posts that will help improve sales performance.
Mike Anderson is VP Consumer Insights and Communication at The Center for Sales Strategy