A hybrid approach to creating and fostering meaningful relationships
Just like everyone else, I make good decisions, and I make poor ones. Last Friday, I made a relatively poor one by opening a few messages that had been gathering digital dust in my LinkedIn inbox. All of them contained three very similar traits:
Each was unsolicited
Each promised some easy way to help grow brandivate
Each message was strictly a copy-and-paste job that said something very similar to the below
“If you could have RED-HOT, watering-at-the-mouth, ready-to-buy, potential client appointments that magically appeared on your calendar every day, would you be open to a quick call?”
As a salesperson, there’s a part of me (a VERY small part) that respects the overly-hyphenated calls to action, even as they border on begging. While the messages were intentional as they were targeted directly at me, none of them contained any sort of soul and, therefore, felt both fake and spammy. So, despite the seemingly endless messages proclaiming how an organization will help accelerate and strengthen client relationships, I know there aren’t shortcuts to finding fresh prospects or building meaningful connections with new clients.
The word “relationship” is an article whose definition is both simple and beguiling at the same time. Unfortunately, when it comes to building business relationships, there seem to be two schools of thought with very little room for compromise:
Build Organically – allowing things to happen naturally through interaction, open communication, and shared goals
Build Intentionally – creating and executing a plan that is both authentic and based on meaningful contact with the client
Much like the Hatfield’s and the McCoy’s, these two philosophies of creating meaningful relationships seem to have impassioned believers on either side. The group that believes only in building organically generally assumes that client relationships are either meant to happen, or they are not. Meanwhile, the group that believes only in being intentional presumes that with the right amount of planning and deliberate action will sway even the most resistant of prospects.
Being solely intentional takes away much of the humanity in the sales process by forcing things to happen in ways that may alienate the prospect. Focusing only on building organically ignores the fact that there has to be some semblance of intentionality for any relationship to begin in the first place.
The best approach is a hybrid technique that I call "Intentionally Organic" and define as purposefully creating situations where relationships have the opportunity to happen organically. This strategy is valid for all relationships, business, and otherwise.
For example, if someone doesn’t pick up the phone, create a marketing campaign, or otherwise attempt to reach a prospect, nothing organic can have the opportunity to transpire. Intentional action must take place first. Once that happens, only then is there potential for organic growth due to conversations and shared experiences, which, over time, forms bonds without force.
To reach their maximum potential, relationships must be continually nurtured, which means there is always a need for both intentional effort and organic growth. This is a simple truth of life regardless of the type of relationship: colleague, client, family, or friends. Even after a connection is established, the relationship will fade away without continual and intentional effort to create space for organic growth.
To find new client relationships – especially in the digitized pandemic world – one must be intentionally organic. The LinkedIn solicitation InMails were intentional, but because they lacked any suggestion of warmth or the possibility for organic growth, they will linger in message purgatory forever. Intention must be coupled with humanity, or the approach will put off the vast majority of the target audience, and you’ll end up being remembered as a poor decision.