There are many forms of business relationships. Whether they be business-to-business or business-to-consumer, prior to building any type of relationship, it is crucial to develop an ideal vision of the relationship in its final form. To successfully build one’s dream house, an architect must first create a detailed blueprint. To ensure a solid structure, every angle and dimension must be drawn to exacting standards. For an architect, this all begins with creating the proper foundation. All the materials necessary to achieve the final goal are thought out and determined well before the building process commences. Once that vision is captured in a blueprint, it is then, and only then, that construction can begin.
The same is true with a strategic business relationship. The key is in understanding that although the perception is that most unbreakable relationships take years to form, they can also be developed by design in a relatively brief time. Anyone attempting this feat must approach it as an architect, a Relationship Architect. The path to success begins with envisioning the relationship and planning its progress and ultimate destination.
If I were to ask everyone reading this blog post to raise their hand if they had a best friend, I assume everyone would have their hand in the air. Is your hand up? Congratulations, you forged a successful relationship. Now, I am also positive that if I asked whether the relationship was formed by design or by time – over years and years of commonality and being there for one another in good times and bad -all would raise their hands to the latter. Imagine if you could capture that same relationship not by time, but by design. That would be very powerful. Forming an unbreakable relationship in an abbreviated period of time is very achievable.
Most people do not enter into a relationship stating, “This is going to be a life-long friendship.” Usually ones approach to building a friendship is far less tactical. You find someone engaging and decide to continue spending time with that person. You see how it progresses, determine that it is still enjoyable and desirable, then before you know it, the unbreakable relationship sneaks up on you ten years later.
Business relationships will form faster if you approach every initial meeting as if it is the start of an unbreakable, long-lasting relationship. This involves listening, understanding, doing what you state you are going to do, reacting quickly, investing time, asking questions, and most of all, being there even when it’s difficult. Be dependable; if you say you are “in,” make damn sure you are “in.” Show the other person that you listen and know what is important to him or her. Do not over-promise; manage expectations, and over-deliver when you follow-through. You will gain trust quickly if your promises are always kept.
To be a Relationship Architect and create relationships by design, rather than time, you must make a conscious effort to apply all the pertinent characteristics of what makes a solid relationship. If you pay attention and execute appropriately, you can expedite the process and quickly achieve what it takes others decades to accomplish.