Let’s face it.  We’re in the business of building relationships first.  People buy from people who they like and trust.

A few weeks ago, I lost a very special and dear friend to cancer.   Joanne was a very welcoming, charismatic, resilient and extremely positive person.  And, she was a master at building relationships.  

Joanne and I didn’t know each other for very long.  I met her about 3 years ago and she and our families became quite close within a very short amount of time. It was instant chemistry.  Joanne had an amazing ability to command a room with her presence and make every person feel important.  She was always interested in you and was genuinely curious about what was happening in your life.

Here’s what Joanne taught me about building relationships:

  1. Be present.

My friend was always present and focused on others.  She was a great listener and always made a point to smile and laugh.    She made you feel at ease very quickly and knew how to ask meaningful questions.  Most importantly, you always left inspired after chatting with her.

When engaging with clients, prospects and acquaintances, be present and focus on them.  Forget about all the noise in your head about what you need to get done, who you need to call, etc. and give them your undivided attention.  Be positive and genuine in your approach.  You will be sure to leave your contacts with a lasting impression.

2.  Go out of your way to make people feel special.

When Joanne had a couple of weeks left to live, she called me and asked if I was available to attend her birthday party.  Well, as you can imagine, I cleared all decks to be there, both professionally and personally.   When I arrived at the party, there were about 40 guests in attendance at the palliative care unit. Despite the excruciating pain that she endured each day, Joanne found the strength to call each and every one of her guests to invite them personally.  That was just her way.

Making people feel special and important is a sure way to build lasting relationships.  It can be something as small as walking your clients to the door after visiting your office, or remembering what your top client enjoys doing in their spare time, or calling a COI to congratulate them on earning a designation or calling someone to say that you read an article and thought of them.

3.  Grow your network.

Because of my friend’s innate ability to connect with people instantly, she had created a huge following of supporters from all walks of life who were there to help her in a heartbeat.  In fact,  she touched so many lives in quite a remarkable way, that people in the community who had never met her, had certainly heard about her.   I think that’s pretty amazing.

When we build powerful relationships with people, we are also growing our network of supporters and influencers.  Next time you’re at a networking or social event, or meeting a new prospect or client, remember that leaving a lasting impression will not only grow your network but will also help spread the word about what you do.

Think about the profound effect that this could have on your business while building one relationship at a time.