I joke around with my family that when I die, they won't recognize 75% of the people on the guest list at my funeral. I don't want to come across as callous or self-serving in front of the people I love and respect the most, but my statement is remarkably accurate.
I'm in the business of developing bridges, buildings and "buddies". The relationships with these buddies, partners and people I share life experiences with are often made in my work life as much, or more than, in my neighborhood, church or school. And these friendships are essential to the success of my career and company.
Business Relationships are Friendships
The lifeblood of any business is profit. This means sales need to take place. And as cliché as it may sound, people do business with people they like and trust and not necessarily the companies they work for. So let’s flip it around and say that people truly are the lifeblood of any company or business.
"...people do business with people they like and trust and not necessarily the companies they work for."
My company, CRH, is a worldwide organization with over 70,000 employees that fabricates, manufactures and distributes building materials for both residential and commercial construction projects. Experience has taught me that the relationships built internally -- especially in a company as large as ours -- are equally important to those outside the company (i.e. customers or clients).
Working for a great company and having great products is essential but equally important is being a friend who understands our clients’ challenges – both personal and professional. Engaging in the lives of my colleagues and clients is what I do best and that steady focus has provided me some of the most valued relationships in my life, outside my immediate family.
Our team nurtures and develops relationships for a living and that makes all the difference when it’s time to execute a contract or issue a purchase order. All this is to say, my role may be business development, but my job is making friends and understanding their challenges.
Relationships in a Digital World
In my last blog post, I touched on how all the technology held in the palm of your hand can neither replace the value of deep personal relationships nor take the place of those relationships in the workplace. Social media and digital marketing are important in today’s world – and I embrace that. But please don’t forget that we are human and naturally crave contact emotionally, physically, mentally and professionally. Make time for it daily.
The people we connect with, in and out of the workplace, is what makes this world go around. The lifeblood of building relationships begins first with trust and commitment paired with an innate desire to please – whether it is family, friends or fellow workers. I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow and add to the guest list.
While you're out there building relationships, be sure you keep your brand aligned with where your company, prospects, and customers are. Visit our resource library to learn more about building relationships, buildings and everything in between.