Hmmm. We are not talking about SEX here. You can develop close, personal friends with people in your network without having sex with them. Intimacy is NOT necessarily about sex. It is about building a connection between people. Close business relationships are personal relationships. Over time – for them to to grow and prosper – they need to become intimate. There is a strong argument to be made that intimacy is much less physical and has more to do with the mind, heart, and soul of those who enjoy sharing it together. Perhaps it’s time to create a love affair with your customers.
The most common mistake people make when building relationships for success is treating business contacts differently than personal friends. ~ Keith Ferrazzi, Author of “Never Eat Alone“
Intimacy: in·ti·ma·cy – [in-tuh-muh-see]
–noun, plural -cies
familiarity: close or warm friendship, a close, familiar, and usually affectionate or loving personal relationship with another person or group.
Intimacy is not a word that is often used in networking. It helps bring an entirely fresh perspective to every encounter. It helps you discover unsuspected business problems, detect unrealized potential, and create a dynamic synergy with other networkers and with your customers. Intimacy involves becoming best friends, trusting each other, knowing each other, understanding each other. Intimacy is grown and developed, it cannot be rushed. You need to make business relationships more personal. It’s okay to mix your business and personal lives.
The inherent value of a business networking group is to develop close personal relationships. They provide a forum and community within which service providers can share ideas, contacts, and business referrals. Merely “good” relationships are not as reliable as they used to be. They must foster a spirit of cooperation and trust. You must construct a model of relationships based on intimacy. it accounts for the influence of emotion in relationships.
Creating intimacy, therefore, requires two things. First, you have to understand that you need to create it and have the political will to drive a fundamental change in your relationship with your customers. But before you can go there, you must have also built up a bank of political capital and credibility by delivering routine services consistently and reliably. If you haven’t done that, your customers will never have enough trust to allow you to build the relationship you need. Built upon a foundation of trust and credibility, however, creating intimacy with your customer will allow you to become the organization that your customer has always wanted. One that understands their goals, challenges and opportunities and brings solutions to the table that create significant value for them. ~ Charles Araujo
Collaboration is the key to survival and growth for business networkers. By building and achieving collaborative excellence in networking, networkers can achieve greater intimacy with others, leading to a competitive advantage for future business.
All business relationships are personal. Connection means being intimate. Real relationships are intimate. That is how you build the trust that is necessary for your connections to thrive.
We must reinvent customer and client relationships. We must create intimacy through partnerships with one another. Focus on the long-term effect of each partnership. Customer intimacy leads to customer loyalty. You already know that. The same is true for your networking connections.
As other networkers get to know you and your lifestyle, they develop a level of intimacy that enables them to understand your attitude toward business, your behaviors and your personality. With this level of intimacy, they are able to spot things that may be causing you problems. At that point they become your trusted partner that you rely on to help manage your career. They become a part of your network of support.
The desire to connect is understandable. As new products and services enter the market with lightning speed, and social networks and applications vie for customers’ attention, the customer seems more elusive than ever. The good news? Businesses can enhance customer intimacy in ways that simply didn’t exist until recently, capitalizing on the very factors contributing to the complexity. This is a perfect storm: Customers’ desire to engage is fulfilled by new communication channels and tools, and companies now have the technologies to make sense of it all in a continuous listen-learn-innovate-improve loop. This alignment finally makes it possible to reap the benefits of becoming a truly customer-centric company. ~ Carolyn Heller Baird
It’s time to blur the boundaries! Make close friends; intimate friends while networking. You’ll have more fun, enrich your relationships and do more in less time for your success and happiness in all areas of your life.
READ: Create a Love Affair With Your Customers by Drew McLellan.
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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