May 23, 2011

Relationships: Not About The Tools

Friends Are Not Free

I often recall the Dennis Miller classic when he referred to the two-for-one deal and ranted that two of crap is still crap. We are often looking for a deal, yet many get upset if we spend too much time talking about ourselves or our offering. So we want to buy stuff but talking about what we sell is a bad thing? Confusion ensues.

In the social web, you can be shunned if you pitch your wares yet no one I know has a bank that takes Twitter followers in lieu of mortgage payments. Or as Chris Brogan has infamously said, “my kids can’t eat a hug.” Making a living is a good thing and digital media are where we can gain relationships along interests not limited to geography.

Your Opinion is Not Free

I can only imagine the volume of requests some people get but I receive “could you give us your opinion” emails often. They just want me to have a quick look and let them know what I think. However, part of my business is business intelligence and ideas. When I inquire about budget, the request often disappears. Perhaps you can relate.

If a large international coffee chain had no customers in any of its more than 17,000 stores around the world, it would be out of business fairly quickly. Zero revenue for a week or two and the largest retailer on earth would be closing stores in short order. If you gave away your expertise, how long would your bottom line stay in the black?

Finding Customers Online is Not Free

If you're at a backyard barbecue, the conversations range from sports to the economy, the latest with the family to vacation plans. But eventually it gravitates to work, it always does. We spend far too much of our lives working for it not to be a significant part of our conversations. But how welcomed is the guy at the party handing out business cards? You can slam the stream with messages and some will bite. Or you can choose to build your online human network like you build your real life human network which takes longer but the rewards are more lasting. This is true for colleagues, clients, prospects, customers, friends and partners.

Respect each other, value your offer, revere their experience and measure the room. Rich human relationships aren’t born from unsolicited sales pitches, they take time. And over time you can get to know some special people. I am often blown away by the generosity of people I first met online.

Are you missing opportunities to build human relationships 
in your quest to build your business?

Kneale Mann

image credit: weblogcartoons
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