“I’m just not a sales guy.”
I’ve heard it countless times. What many people don’t realize is that many of the skills needed for success in sales are needed for success in any occupation.
Regardless of the industry you’re in, you must build strong and valuable relationships. My career has been spent connecting people and companies at the right time in an effort to build valuable, long lasting, profitable relationships in the construction industry. You hear it from the CEO, your boss and especially from the over zealous “Biz Dev” person in the office. I guess I’m that guy in my office. I truly believe it to be the cornerstone of business and what makes the business world revolve.
More importantly is that everyone can build strong relationships no matter what industry you’re in or what your title may be. It’s important to build the right relationships with the right people. This theory applies to both your external and internal networks. It applies to the sales team, the human resource and IT department.
Fact: Not everyone has to be classified as the Enthusiastic-Optimistic-Collaborative (High I) from the D.I.S.C profile or the Extroverted-Sensing-Feeling-Perceiving (E.S.F.P.) from the Myers-Briggs Indicator to build solid relationships. That may be the standard business development prototype, but that doesn’t mean they are the only people in your organization that can go out and build strong, valuable relationships.
Focus on these three key elements to build successful, trustworthy and valuable relationships that can help every business as well as every individual.
1: Read the Room
If it’s cold, turn the heat up. If it hot, turn the air down. You need to be able to adjust to the mood and be ready to discuss or address whatever topic is important to your client. That may mean extra homework. It also may mean listening and processing multiple conversations at the same time. The aggressive BD guy doesn’t know how to dial it back, when to use humor or when to just listen.
People will be attracted to those who can relate to any situation. Your prospective client will talk business when he or she is ready so be ready!
2: Give and you Shall Receive
Go into every potential relationship with a giving and generous attitude. Jump into a situation without being asked. Always be looking for ways to offer solutions or value that your potential client is searching for but doesn’t actually communicate.
This may mean asking the question that he or she may be afraid or embarrassed to ask. This builds trust and let’s the client know you truly care about their success. We have all been told that it’s better to give than receive!
3: Own It
This might be the hardest element to master because it hits home morally and shows your human side.
When something goes wrong you may need to take the bullet even if it wasn’t you or your companies fault. If it was you or your company’s error, being respectful, honest and transparent shows vulnerability and the ability to take the criticism that goes with being wrong. Look at it as a chance to deliver a home run in the bottom of the ninth with the two outs to snatch the unexpected victory.
You can’t make it right if you don’t take responsibility!
4: Be Present
Finally, remember that people are also reading you when you walk into the room and will gravitate to those who giving off a positive vibe.
In today’s digital world of social media and instant communication, your phone can make or break you. You don’t want your first impression to say, “The people on the other side of this phone are more important than the ones right in front of me”. Be present. Turn your phone off when you walk into a room full of potential relationships.
In the end, building relationships all comes down to trust. Do you trust someone who understands your challenges, who is willing to help, who stands up when faced with adversity
Be that person, and you'll be the one who will get called on when the stakes are highest. Build the relationships today that will enable you to be on the other end of the line when that call comes.
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