By Deanna Cioppa
Valentine’s Day is upon us, and if you thought this holiday was just about chocolates and flowers for your significant other, well, think again. If there’s one thing the holiday commercial machine has taught us, it’s that there’s room for everyone in your V-Day considerations. Allow us to add a couple more to the list: your clients and prospects. Here are a few ways to interject a little more romance into, let’s be honest, your most important relationships.
1. Do something thoughtful.
Grand gestures are great in the movies, but often it’s the small things that enrich our relationships, whether with significant others or significant clients. Opportunities abound for quick favors, coffee meetings and introductions or referrals for your customers and leads; taking action will enrich your relationships and could pay dividends later
2. Invest in quality time.
There’s nothing like a little QT for strengthening a relationship, but often we focus our energies on the unsecured connection, the sales pipeline, or the new lead and lose track of our existing connections. Now’s the time to make that phone call or set up that lunch and check in with your current clients
. While you’re at it, see Number 1 above.
3. Offer encouragement and support.
You can’t maintain a relationship if you’re disconnected from what’s happening in your significant other’s life, and the same holds true for your professional relationships. Make it a goal
to stay abreast of industry news, deals and promotions within your network, and reach out with congratulations or acknowledgements often.
“We miss a lot of opportunities to nurture relationships when we’re consumed by our own interests.”
4. Listen. No, really listen.
Did you catch all those hints your SO has been dropping about Valentine’s Day plans? For that matter, were you listening when that last prospect told you about a very specific problem he was looking to address using your services? The point is, we miss a lot of opportunities to nurture relationships when we’re consumed by our own interests. This might be the year to try out some active listening
5. Impress their friends.
You’ve heard it before: the way to someone’s heart is through her friends. Impress them, and you’ve cleared a major obstacle. What does this mean for your professional contacts? Well, your prospects will be evaluating you partially on what they hear from their network
. By maintaining strong relationships with your existing clients, you create an army of brand ambassadors and a sustainable referral machine. How romantic.
Deanna Cioppa is a freelance writer who has written for AARP, ESPN The Magazine and Fodor’s. She is a frequent contributor to the RelSci blog.
RelSci is a technology solutions company that helps create competitive advantage for organizations through a crucial yet vastly underutilized asset: relationship capital with influential decision makers.
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