How can you know ahead of time if a business relationship is worth pursuing? If a promotional campaign is going to be effective? If a pitch will win a sale? Is it even possible to know in advance the outcome of anything when such a diverse set of factors is in play? You always have to take into account different people’s likes, dislikes, needs, wants, and emotions, and no two results are ever the same.
Well, there are definitely some proven ways to create strong bonds in business, and in life, that can guide you when navigating the emotional minefield of human relationships. The truth lies in the resounding fact that though business in North America has been essentially a black and white matter for the left-brain, linear-thinking strategist, relationships are what make a business succeed or fail. And relationships are anything but black and white, logical or predictable.
Think about the last time you bought something you really liked. What was your motivating factor? Necessity? Nah. Practicality? Maybe. Desire? Likely. But why that thing in particular, why not its competitor? Marketing professionals have been studying why people buy things for years, and really they’re no closer to the solid answers now than they ever were . Because the truth is simpler than anyone ever imagined. And that truth is the same truth that determines whether or not you’re going to connect with a person, place or product.
Take this photo for example. Toronto Life magazine chose this photo out of 200 others that may have been more fashion forward, more stylish, and more overall esthetically pleasing…but they chose this one because the people in this photo connect with you emotionally. Why? How? Because, you know a dad don’t you? You know a sweet little kid, and they make you feel good, don’t they? There’s something familiar about this picture, you’ve perhaps been that guy before or someone close to you has. See the connection?
Any artistic field, like marketing in business, whether marketing yourself or a product, relies on our human tendencies to be attracted to what we know, like and trust. This guy seems like a real guy, we like him because he’s a young dad and we trust him because he’s a dad taking care of his son. Simple? Yes. Powerful? Definitely.
The now popular sales concept of know, like, trust was born out of a communication maxim that suggests you have to have affinity and reality with something in order to communicate with it. Well, buying something would be a form of communication in that you are now willing to use it, touch it, apply it or play with it, depending on the product. But in order to know, like and trust something, you have to have some sort of experience with it so as to connect emotionally to it. So what does that mean exactly? It means your affinity for something increases the more you know about it, the more you understand it. If you happen to be afraid of something or confused about it you’re not going to like it very much are you? Remember calculus class? Ya, not so much fun.
Now, in order to like something or someone there has to be something real, common or similar to you about that person or that product – something you’re interested in, something that reminds you of something dear, something that’s real to you in some way. Make sense? Now reverse this whole concept and consider what you now need to do to connect with someone who doesn’t know you, like you or trust you. Bingo!
Developing a relationship with someone would also signify your willingness to experience them, learn from them, entertain them in order to have a valuable give and take. So next time you’re trying to predict whether or not this person would be valuable to connect with, ask yourself these questions:
1. What do you know about them?
2. What should you know about them?
3. What do you have in common?
4. What can you appreciate about them?
5. What can you learn form them?
And then ask yourself the same questions from his or her perspective and you’ll be 10 steps closer to predicting the future!