Yesterday I went to my jeweler (Kosmima, Chestnut Hill, MA) to pick up a watch he was repairing. The owner/jeweler is great. His name is Pano and he is from Greece. He designs much of the jewelry he sells and is really nice and easy to get along with. My husband and I got our wedding rings from him and have been customers ever since. We’ve bought a few other things and had him repair some things too.

Pano offers great service and knows his business is all relationship based. We just talked about it yesterday. In his work if he finds an individual or family that likes his service and products – they might go back to him for a lifetime – and he goes out of his way to maintain and add value to the relationship whenever he can.

Have you thought about your business as relationship based? Meaning it is all about building valuable relationships and not just about selling services or products. It is a different mindset and it takes a change in culture to pull this off – but it will have permanent, positive effects.

That is where business is going today. It’s all relationship building – no matter what is sold. Even warehouse clubs (one might think they are price and quantity driven) are trying to focus on relationships. Jump on the bandwagon now because this emphasis on relationship building is what the fastest growing businesses are doing today.

Your strategic or annual business plan would be different if you made goals about growing relationships, retention and engagement instead of just services or units sold or donations received. What I mean is that your focus and approach might be different if your goals were customer and relationship based. And your tactics would be different too.

Here are 2 examples of tactics for relationship-focused businesses:

  • Relationship-based businesses always focus on providing value in every communication. Instead of sending out email newsletters or “blasts” (please don’t call it that anymore) when you want to get sales of a certain service – you would send out emails each time you have something of value to offer or tell your customers – something they would value.
  • Relationship-based businesses have a true 2-way dialogue with customers: listening to customers – actively collecting feedback, considering it and responding to the suggestions. You want to listen AND thank them for taking time to offer an idea that could help your business grow. Research shows customers are the #1 source of new ideas and innovation for business. It isn’t coming from your employees because they don’t use your service or product like your customers do.

Those are just a few items to get you thinking. Feel free to email me questions and your ideas or post them in the comment area below.