We’ve all heard that it’s not what you know, but who you know that matters most. A new information-gathering company even states it’s “what you know about who you know” that really matters. However, there is a large and growing population who believe that the most important thing about every relationship is that we are all just people, and we all want to be treated with a certain amount of respect. Human-to-human interaction is and will always be the foundation of any long-term, sustainable success.
We’re not autobots, or targets; lead statistics or prospects. We don’t want our information gathered and categorized, nor do we want an ongoing assault of unsolicited advertisements or SPAM. We are people with feelings and families, interests and needs. While its true that everybody has something to offer – a mutually beneficial relationship occurs when the offer is genuine and unsolicited. Does that mean that “sales efforts” are evil? Absolutely not, but it does mean that there is a way to sell more without dehumanizing the people that you are interacting with in the process.
Technology has made it easy to group people into subject matter and blast information “at” us. Besides being impersonal and just plain rude – it’s not effective! We are all so busy tweeting our latest thoughts and status updates to our networks, that there’s very little time or ability to receive or screen the responses or engage in any real H2H exchanges. While I am a huge supporter Twitter, Facebook and OneDegreeConnected.com, among others – I do think it’s important to note that so much is coming at us so fast it’s hard to discern any useful information out of the constant broadcast of the media stream. So let’s keep things in perspective… these are just tools, a means to an end. What is the end…? Building and maintaining meaningful relationships!
It’s been cited in countless books on the subject; “people will more eagerly do business with those whom they know, like and trust.” Well how do you really get to know someone when you can add literally hundreds or thousands of contacts to your network on any given day? The simple answer is slowly, by identifying someone of common interests or needs (existing social media tools are very useful in this aspect), and ask questions or share information.
When a new acquaintance expresses a need (in whatever media format), offer to help without asking for anything in return. If you are not able to fill the need, then give a referral to someone you know who can fill that need. You are then beginning to build trust with both the new acquaintance and the person whom you referred.
Trust is developed over time thru the process of getting to know someone and in having others willing to vouch for your intentions, character and results. Again, this is an ongoing process, not a prepackaged solution. Human-to- human interaction is complex but can be highly rewarding.
Because you can’t ‘know’ everyone that you have access to, it’s important to use your social networks (both online and offline) to identify those people whom you do want to develop a relationship with, then take the steps to make it happen.
Building good relationships means making the time and effort to get to know people and their needs, with a genuine interest in helping them achieve their goals with no expectations in return! This may be difficult to get your head around – but think of some of your most trusted friends or business associates; they have earned your trust by helping you on some level with no upfront demands.
Every investment in another person will not be met with an equal return – its just not possible. But most people are eager to be helpful when the opportunity does present itself, if for no other reason than to keep in your good favor and continue to receive the benefits you provide. We’ve developed an online tool (not another social network) that is designed to help establish and manage relationships exactly in this manner.
There is still a level of responsibility to build and maintain relationships within the vast network of human connectivity that technology has provided us. While you may not be able to develop mutually beneficial relationships as quickly as you can “friend or follow”, the benefits of building meaningful interaction are significantly greater, and can far outlive the lifespan of the latest and greatest network fads!
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