Your Secret Sauce: Relationships

It doesn’t matter what you do for a business, career or in life. The secret sauce for success and happiness comes down to relationships.

We don’t stand out because of what we do – or even how good we are at doing it. We stand out (positively or negatively) because of our ability to relate, communicate and influence those around us.

In business, commoditization is more the rule than not. Yes, some doctors, lawyers, accountants, wealth managers, restaurants and real estate agents are better trained or better technicians than others. But the vast majority of our success is not that expertise, experience or skill. Our success is determined by how well we connect with, relate to and provide service to our prospective and existing colleagues and clients.

South Florida is not known for having the greatest service. People complain all the time about unreturned calls, late arrivals and poor communication on the phone. When it is not like that, we feel good. We want to do business with that person – even if they charge a bit more, are a bit out of the way or make us wait.

You probably don’t need research to validate this common sense, but we have it: Nobel Prize-winning Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likable person is offering a lower-quality product or service at a higher price.

My wife Suzy and I are looking for new garage doors. There are only a handful of manufacturers. It’s a commodity. There are tons of sales and service providers. We’ve had special offers, sales calls and have responded to online offers. Suzy has always worked with one well-known female-owned company. She is very loyal; and now I understand why.

We made the appointment and the salesman called, confirmed the time and place for the appointment and exactly what he was coming to sell. Not a recording, not a bored telephone service agent – it was the salesman.

Today, he came. In a uniform. Smiling, engaged and engaging, and prepared. He made us both feel important and respected. He listened and offered opinions and suggestions. And then he wrote up his proposal.

He may be a bit more expensive. He may not start tomorrow. But he got our business. He built a relationship – and we will be surprised if we do not get the same level of service from his installers. It is in their corporate DNA. It is how this company – how this company’s people – show up every day.

We get to choose who we want to be and who we truly are every day and in every interaction. If we chose to do so, we make our relationships stronger and better every day. ?

Steve Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or sgarber@thirdlevel.com.

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