In business, relationships are one of the most important assets you can own. The relationships we have with employees, clients, partners and vendors are key assets to our future employers and personal endeavors. Constantly striving to build and nurture these relationships is an important part of business.
Hank Paulson, the former United States Secretary of Treasury and CEO of Goldman Sachs formed a habit that professionals from all industries can learn from. In an interview with Fortune Magazine, Paulson claimed that he would call “60 CEO’s in the first week of every year to wish them Happy New Year.”
Last week, I was chatting with a friend from university who implements a similar strategy to his relationships. Unlike most people on Facebook, he loves using it to stay connected with business contacts. You see, instead of using Facebook to simply look at photos and play social games; he uses it to get intel on when his contacts are having a birthday. When he sees a birthday notification for a former colleague or clients =, instead of writing on their wall, he picks up the phone and calls them.
This deliberate act is built on the idea of constantly improving our relationships. Tom Peters, one of the most famous sales coaches in the world, has coined this habit ADRE or Acts of Deliberate Relationship Enhancements. He promotes the idea of calling clients to wish them a happy birthday, Happy New year or even to just say hello.
I’m in no way suggesting that you put on a façade and call people who you generally have no interest in. If the conversation or greeting isn’t sincere, it will clearly show through. Instead, I urge you to develop a habit of recognizing the value of relationships and the importance of everyone you come across. Relationships matter.
Start small. Call five people this week and then call six the week following.
Technology is great but it’s easy and expected. We spend too much time behind a computer screen chatting with our clients over Skype and message boards. Call them.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll start to realize how easy it is to enhance your relationships. You will start to see that the telephone isn’t as scary as you think and people truly appreciate someone who shows they’re genuinely interested in them as a person and not just a lead.