Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Connect

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

I was reading a post this morning by Chris Brogan where he briefly introduced an idea called “green blocking.” It wasn’t the focus of the post, more of just a passing comment, but it was the part that got me thinking.

According to Chris, Green Blocking is a term for setting aside a specific block of time in your work day just to contact people and interact. To be human. There’s no question the world is a changing place and that human touch is something that is disappearing from it, making that connection even more valuable. What about in your business though?

If you’re in retail, chances are you’re getting pressure from low-priced box stores and online retailers. And often it’s difficult to compete with them purely on price, but should that even be your goal? The boxes and online outlets can’t offer the same quality of service you can so why not improve on that by taking some time to reach out to your customers without a sales pitch? I know I regularly pay more for quality service, I can’t be the only one.

The same can be said for most service businesses, whether dealing with other businesses or directly with the end consumer. In most cases here you are selling knowledge, and in most cases there is someone else out there with more of it than you. But you have a relationship with your customer that no one else has, why not strengthen that?

I’ve long believed that the ultimate goal for service businesses should be a close relationship that makes you more of a trusted partner than a supplier. So why not reach out to your customer just to see how they are doing and what challenges they are facing without the goal of making the sale? If you better understand your customers challenges maybe you already have or can develop a solution that you can offer them. It’s an opportunity to make a new sale that you wouldn’t otherwise know about and to strengthen your relationship with the customer, but it came about from a simple human gesture, not from trying to make a sale.

In my personal life, a small group of friends and I exchange letters. It’s not always on a regular basis as life is hectic, and they don’t always see a quick reply, but it is an effort to reach out to someone and let them know they are important. In a world of thousands of friends online with whom you rarely make a real connection, a simple hand written letter is a real shock, but a great one.

In my business, one of my goals is to have a closer relationship with my clients, to really work closely with them to solve their problems. It’s something I know I can improve on, but that is important enough that I intend to make the effort. Green Blocking seems like just one more technique for me to reach that goal.

What about you? How do you reach out to your friends and clients to show you value them?