When we talk about marketing and business growth,
invariably, we also talk about relationships. The mantra these days is that we
must do more than just push our products or services at people. We need to
develop mutually beneficial relationships if we want our organizations to
Of course this is true. But, it begs the question, how do we do it?
Steven Covey says relationships
are built on trust. We trust someone, therefore we are willing to share
ourselves with them. In our personal and business lives, this trust is necessary
to cement the links we have with each other.
Covey also notes that trust is about having confidence in someone. When we
believe someone will act in a certain way or according to certain values, we
have confidence in them. This makes us willing to take a risk and build a
relationship with them.
One thing that helps us build confidence and trust is consistency in people’s
Speak would say this is how a person’s brand is built. He says, when we act
in ways that are consistent with our values and beliefs, we are showing the
world who we truly are. This gives them the opportunity to know us and,
therefore, trust us.
So, in our relationships, we experience what a person says and does. Over
time, we see patterns that persist. If those patterns are consistent and they
don’t conflict wildly with our values, then we likely develop confidence in the
person. We trust them.
I see this in people I trust completely. My parents are a great example.
Throughout my entire life, their words and actions have always been consistent
in certain ways. They are both as honest as a person could be. There is no
pretense, no pretending, no posturing and no manipulation in how they deal with
others. What you see (and hear) is what you get. I’ve witnessed this countless
times in many contexts. It’s a defining characteristic for them both.
So, one key to having long lasting and rewarding relationships is to behave.
To be more precise, behave consistently with your values and beliefs. This
sounds easy but it’s not always.
Another key is to be willing to “put up with the crap” as my father likes to
say. I call it loyalty.
We were talking recently about a specific relationship he has. It’s with a
person who is a dear friend and a long-time client. Dad pointed out that, in
most relationships, you need to be willing to put up with things you don’t like,
if you want the relationship to continue.
In other words, relationships are not all honey and roses. Almost every
relationship we have is going to have some rough spots once in awhile. They’re a
part of life.
It’s our willingness to look past these rough patches and see the person and
relationship completely that enables us to stick with them. We do this because
we want to, because we care about that person and our relationship with them.
If we’re not willing to put up with the “challenging” parts of our
relationships, then we’ll be left with relationships that are either short-lived
As we think about growing our businesses, the same ideas apply. Our
customers, vendors and employees all represent valuable and necessary
relationships. They’re willingness to stick with us through tough times will
determine our ability to thrive.
We get to that place by being genuine. Being genuine means our words and
actions are consistent with our values and beliefs. Doing so attracts to us
people who want to have relationships with us. Being consistent with them helps
them know and trust us and makes them more willing to stick with us in the bad
times as well as the good times.