In business development, we spend countless hours every day working on and building relationships. It’s how we go about building and maintaining those relationships that really leaves a lasting impact on our businesses and our lives. We all know that, but what tactics are we using to achieve a lasting relationship, and more importantly, one built on trust?
I utilize an approach I have coined the INTEL Method.
As in anything we do in our lives, our intention is the map to the path we are walking. Imagine doing nothing with intent. Or, if your only goal was to make a sale and not build a lasting relationship where your client trusts you above your competition – you immediately cut yourself off at the ankles. Our intention is paramount. For me, my goal is to intentionally build relationships with people who can not only provide value to my business as a client and valued partner but also provide value to my life as a partner in someone I trust.
These days I feel as people’s situational awareness is lost. Whether their face is glued to their phone, or their attention span just isn’t there – it’s harming our society. Remember when you met your first big crush? You noticed everything about them. You paid close attention because many of the sensory factors in your body were telling your mind to do so without you having to pay close attention to it. You did it naturally. That ability to notice the small cues your target gives you is invaluable, and more importantly, it is your intention to notice and remember them that will provide the biggest impact. When I leave a meeting or interaction with a customer, I immediately write down everything I can remember about their mannerisms, their interests, and anything else they willingly shared with me and it helps me map them as a person, it helps me learn to understand how I can best serve them. I believe that in business development we’re constantly learning how to best serve our clients by learning their needs and providing solutions. We can’t do that if we don’t have the situational awareness to notice those needs.
In any relationship, business or personal, if there is no trust there is no relationship. I can even argue that you need trust to buy a pack of ramen noodles. Let’s say you’re short on cash, hungry and you only have a few options to choose from. You trust those ramen noodles will provide the satisfaction to your hunger. Albeit simple, the concept is the same as buying anything else. You trust what you’re buying, who you’re buying it from and you trust in the solution to your needs or product. Like intention, without trust, if you’re lucky enough to close the deal you haven’t built a relationship and your path to building on top of that deal is dead in the water.
Using the INTEL method, we have arrived at one of the most important steps – execution. Once we have decided on our intention, noticed our customer’s needs and developed trust, it is time to execute on the first three steps. Whether this is a first time customer or someone you have worked with for years, if you don’t execute on the first three steps, your intention and ability to build trust is wasted. To execute properly, we need to take the intel we have gathered by noticing our clients needs and asking them the right questions and go deliver a solution to them. In executing our solution, we’re building an endless well of opportunity because in almost every aspect of business we are all looking for solutions. It’s our job as business development and salespeople to provide those solutions to our customers.
We have decided on our intention, noticed our client’s needs, built trust, and we have executed our mission. How we move forward in maintaining the relationship we have just worked so hard to build is as important as the result of the first four steps. We do it by learning. Learning from the process we embarked on when we first acted on our intention. It’s time to start the cycle all over again. Every relationship is a give and a take, and every person in every relationship is looking for value from the other party – whether you or they realize it or not. It is vital that we learn from the path we walked and restart the cycle. Remember, we’re building an endless well of opportunity. Everyone has problems they need to be solved. If we continue to intentionally notice our client’s needs, build trust and execute on what we have learned, our cycle of opportunity will never end.
If you want to learn more about the INTEL method please comment below or use the connect form to get in touch with me. I would love the opportunity to build a relationship with you and learn from each other.