I’d like to ask you a relatively easy question. How many business contacts do you have?
You can easily get an approximate figure by adding together your social network contacts, the contacts in your address book and email lists, etc. For most reading this, the number will be in the high hundreds. For many it will be in the tens of thousands. And hundreds of thousands for some.
Here’s a harder question. How many business relationships do you have?
Business relationships are harder to count. That’s because they are people you connect with on a deeper level. Not just numbers on the social networks you use. Not just names in your address book, who you have no history with.
Building more and more contacts can be intoxicating. It’s often referred to as a vanity metric, because most of these numbers are visible, such as our social network contacts / followers / friends. The bigger the number, the more it strokes our ego. We can be like the popular kid at school. Look at us. We’re a big deal. Even though we know hardly any of these people. We have the BIG contacts number. Go us!
Building relationships doesn’t seem as intoxicating. That’s because there’s no publicly visible number attached to it. Who else knows how many people rely on you when they need help, how many people trust you, how many influential people you know, or how many people go to you for council when faced with important decisions?
Sanity numbers are a lot less public than our vanity numbers, but a lot more meaningful and massively more valuable.
With this in mind, how much time do you dedicate each day, to building and nurturing relationships? I’m talking here about going deeper than contact building.
Everyone who reads my work via email, can chat with me by simply replying to the email. I’ll see it and reply to you personally. I’ve built countless relationships with people, who went from being a reader (contact on my email list), to being in regular dialogue with me (person I have a relationship with).
Business is ultimately all about people. That’s why it’s essential to focus on relationships. This has never been more true than it is today, my friend.