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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Kiernan

Why we are a Relationship-Centered Business + 5 Tips for deepening your connections.

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

If I've learned anything over the past few months in business, it's that relationships are everything. Within minutes of me deciding to leave my previous employer, I was flooded with calls. All calls of encouragement, understanding and excitement. What are you going to do next? Where are you going? How can I support you?

As I started to begin my entrepreneurial journey and started meeting with some of those who were offering support, more and more introductions were made, and stories shared. I've been in sales for most of my professional career and always preached relationship building as the key to success but over the past few months that has become even clearer.

Within any organization, there are people. And at the end of the day you gravitate in business, just as you do in your personal lives, towards people who you genuinely connect with. In a world full of data, I think the importance of human connection in business can get lost. Sales and business are certainly about the numbers, but I've found that being a relationship-centered business is the key to my early success thus far. If you can take a second to breathe, think creatively, do your research, and CONNECT with the human being in front of you, you will come out ahead. This rings true for connecting with prospects, clients, and vendors. If you are open to a real connection, your business will flourish.

So what can you do today, that will impact your business tomorrow?

Call just to say thank you. When was the last time you got an unsolicited call just to say thank you? Did your cable provider call you this month to say thank you? Your boss? Your coworker? Your friend? Give it a try. It might just be the brightest point of their day, and yours.

Be Empathetic. Stop talking, and listen. Listen to their body language, the tones of their voice, listen for excitement. I love Brene Brown's take on being empathetic in the video ( "Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection." Dig in, be curious, and never walk away without learning something personal about the person you met with. I pride myself on being a great listener, but have a terrible memory so I make sure to write down notes quickly post meeting so I don't forget. Bringing up their kids name, or favorite sports team next time you chat with them shows them that you were truly listening to the details and fosters deeper connections.

Schedule a Lunch & Learn. Pick a supplier, partner, or friend's brain about their business. Have them pitch you their products and services, learn about their industry, learn something new about the products you sell. I've found this creates deeper connections, and gets you both out of your elements to start thinking creatively about how to collaborate or network. I'm sure that you will both find a way to help grow your respective businesses.

Make a friend in a parallel industry. What other industries are selling to the same buyers? Could there be an opportunity there? Being in packaging, I wanted to better understand where my products ended up. I decided to reach out to a local recycling company and chat with the sales rep there. He offered me a tour of their facility, and a chance to prospect together. I sell the packaging supplies, he sells the recycling solutions. Man, did I learn a ton that day! I made that call over five years ago, and there have been countless opportunities that we've helped each other with over the years, as well as created a wonderful friendship. We both now have a great referral for our buyer's in need.

Be yourself. It doesn't matter that it's business, remember people buy from people. The person you are talking to wants to get to know you, so don't forget to be yourself!

I'm looking forward to sharing more as my journey continues. For now, happy connecting!


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