Compromising Relationships

I’m pretty certain that the biggest challenge when it comes to compromising stems from the fact that no one wants to lose. Ever! 

 

What most people fail to realize however is that true compromise is not about winning and losing. It is about allowing both sides of the compromise to maintain self-respect. A compromise can be found in any situation and it can, in fact it must, be found without sacrificing core values. 

 

If you’re truly interested in finding a compromise in difficult circumstances then you must stop trying to always be right. Admitting you are wrong about something, whether it is a fact, an opinion or some emotion driven thinking is not a loss. It is not a sign of weakness or stupidity. It is a sign of courage and emotional strength. The moment you realize that you are wrong about something admit it and move on. 

 

To find compromise you must be willing to let some things go. Humans say and do the most regrettable things when they are emotional. You most certainly have and it’s likely that you are willing to cut yourself a fair amount of slack for saying or doing whatever. You cut yourself that slack because you realize that you were emotional. You must also realize that the other party to your compromise is an emotional being as well. Cut them some slack!

 

You may enter into a discussion with one set of expectations but that doesn’t mean your expectations can’t change as a result of the discussion. Be willing to change your expectations, again that is not a sign of losing. It is a sign that you’re strong enough to realize that sometimes the only way to get something is to give something. 

 

Hiding your true feelings when searching for a compromise does not work. Share how you feel and value the other person’s feelings as much as you want them to value yours.

 

Finding a compromise requires that both parties keep an open mind. Personally I try to remember that I can be wrong about most anything at almost any time. That’s probably true for you too. 

 

Relationships are what make life worth living. When we forget that we put every relationship we have in grave danger. A long time ago a great friend of mine gave me some life changing advice. I was struggling with some issues with our daughter and this very wise man asked me a simple question.

 

He asked what was more important, proving I was right or my relationship with my daughter. That simple question changed my approach to every relationship I have.

 

There is no such thing as a neutral human interaction. Every time you interact with another human being you leave them feeling either better or worse about themselves and their life situation. Every single time!


Find a compromise that makes them…and you, feel better about each other. You will never regret it!


How to Build Meaningful Relationships

That’s kind of a big title for this little post. It might make a better title for a book because there are many things that go into building meaningful human relationships. For the purposes of this post however we’re going to look at four ideas that can make a positive difference in your relationships. 

 

I make no distinction between business and personal relationships. When you’re good at building relationships you understand that there are more similarities than there are differences in those two types of relationships. 

 

If you want strong, healthy and meaningful relationships with other people you first need a strong healthy relationship with yourself. You will need to understand the vast difference between loving yourself (very healthy) and being in love with yourself. (not so healthy) 

 

The best builders of relationships, especially long-term relationships, are comfortable with themselves. They know what they know and even more important they know what they don’t know. The don’t hold unrealistic expectations for themselves and have no need to be “better” than everyone else. 

 

They do their best in any given situation and let the chips fall where they may. These people make the choice to be happy as often as they realistically can. They have no expectation that other people or “stuff” will make them happy. They don’t look to others for their happiness, they look within.

 

People who build the strongest relationships practice healthy amnesia. They forget the slights and pettiness of other people. They remember how easy it is to take someone for granted. They don’t hold it against someone else if that person sometimes seems to take them for granted. They know when to overlook the faults of others. They work hard at “forgetting” to share those faults with a third party. They understand that you cannot build meaningful relationships by gossiping. 

 

People build meaningful relationships by maintaining a positive attitude. They tend to light up a room when they enter it. People look forward to interacting with positive people and actually seek them out. Relationship builders do their best to make the other person feel better about themselves and their situation. One of Dale Carnegie’s principles from How to Win Friends and Influence People says that we should be genuinely interested in other people. That describes a characteristic of all great relationship builders. 

 

If you want to build meaningful relationships then don’t wait to be asked for help. Don’t offer to help and then do nothing when your offer is declined. Just help! Don’t be a pest, don’t force your help on someone,  but be creative and find a way to help. Don’t worry about getting “credit” for helping, just help. That caring attitude will come through in every interaction with other people. They will be drawn to you. 

 

I know that helping other people before being asked, or before receiving permission, may seem like “butting in.” It may offend someone. You should know that building any relationship comes with risks and helping other people is a risk worth taking. I’ve asked many people “if” I could help hoping that they would say no or not answer at all. “Be sure to let me know if there is anything I can do” is too often a hollow offer of help.

 

Say “I want to help so I’m going to_________________, and then do it!


Meaningful human relationships are the treasure that makes life worth living. Like anything of value it takes effort to keep them meaningful. I can promise you that it is effort you will never regret.


How to Sell More of Anything

Next week in Baltimore I’ll present a “How to Sell” class to a group of professionals. Not sales professionals, in fact, these professionals may very well have a certain disdain at even the thought of selling. 

As I prepared for the presentation I knew instinctively that a traditional sales training session was out of the question. No sales process or technique would be of interest or value to this group. While “selling” is important to their profession it is not something they are comfortable with and not something they do on a daily basis.

That got me to thinking about the essence of selling and what it really takes to sell effectively. The answer that popped into my head was trust and relationships.

People buy from people they like and trust. People don’t buy from companies or machines. Yes, we sometimes buy stuff online and through vending machines but usually even then someone, a person, has previously convinced us that it would be a good purchase.

The presentation morphed into a “Building Trusting Relationships” session and it quickly occurred to me that this isn’t just a great topic for non-traditional salespeople, it’s a valuable topic for all sales professionals. 

Salespeople, at least less successful salespeople, tend to focus all their energies on “telling” their prospect about the product. They spend far too little time on building the type of relationship that will help the prospect trust them as a person and as a result the prospect remains suspect about most everything the salesperson says.

The most successful salespeople don’t focus on themselves or their product, they focus on their customer and their customer’s wants and needs. They start that process by learning about their customer’s goals and objectives and it is from those conversations that a real relationship blooms.  

The most successful salespeople treat people with courtesy, politeness, and kindness. They listen to what others have to say before expressing their own thoughts. Successful salespeople do not insult, disparage or knock another person’s ideas. Even if that other person is a competitive salesperson. Especially if that other person is a competitive salesperson! 

The most successful salespeople have long ago thrown out the Golden Rule and replaced it with the Platinum Rule: Treat others as they wish to be treated.

The most successful salespeople don’t play the blame game. They accept responsibility for their actions and they honor their commitments. They share credit for their success knowing full well that no salesperson can succeed long-term without a lot of support from others in their organization.

The most successful salespeople avoid wasting time and are consistent planners. They are genuinely interested in other people and believe they can learn from anyone. They smile often and always, always, always maintain control of their attitude. Simply put, they are the type of person we all enjoy being around. 

Now, for those of you who have never sold a thing or are in a position that requires a non-traditional sales approach, just remove the word “sales” from every sentence above. What you’ll discover is that the way to sell more of anything is to be a successful person. 

Once you have developed the skill of building trusting relationships, sincere relationships, well then you can sell most anything to most anyone. 

You see, great salespeople are also great people.

How to Build Real Business Relationships 

In many businesses, customers often become more than customers. They become friends…not necessarily the kind you would invite to non-business gatherings, but people you truly care about and who care about you.

You may think you are in the business of selling, providing customer service, the legal profession, the restaurant business or whatever, but you are not. Even if your products are sold or purchased only to other businesses, the business doesn’t make the buying decision. A person does. Whatever business you’re in you’re also in the people business.  Learning to make people feel important and cared about will help you make both the initial sale and long-term sales over the course of time.

No matter what your business, every customer should receive your best care during the sales process and after. During the initial sale, get them talking and take good notes. Enter the information into your customer database. 

A Minneapolis business legend, Harvey Mackay, has a long list of details he requires his salespeople to gather about customers over a certain time period. This includes not just information required to do business, but a few personal details such as birthdays, whether or not they’re married, children’s names, and whether or not they have pets. That information is used to make contacts and to start conversations with customers after the initial sale.

People like to do business with people who are like them, who demonstrate that they care about them beyond making the sale and who keep them in mind when something new that might be of interest to them arises. That type of treatment shows them that you know they are important. They come to rely on businesses and salespeople they know they can trust to have their needs and interests at heart.

Here is the real trick to building real, long lasting relationships – there is no trick. You must truly have the other person’s interests at heart. If you do not, he or she will eventually figure that out and you will quickly become just another product peddler or company that they will try to avoid.

Only when you truly care about people will those people truly care about doing business with you.

Invest in Trust!

All leadership is based on trust. If someone doesn’t trust you they simply will not be committed to truly following you. They might comply with you, they may do what you tell them to do, they may even kind of like you but they will not commit to you.

Building trust takes time. When I hear someone say “you must earn the right to lead” what I really think they are saying is “you need to build some trust before anyone will actually follow you.” 

Authentic leaders know that their title or position does little in the way of building trust. People don’t trust titles, they don’t trust positions, and they don’t trust names. People trust people. 

Trust building must be intentional. It must occur everyday. If you’re a leader, or someone in a leadership position then you should be aware that your people are watching you. They want to see if your actions match your words. They want to see if you honor your commitments, and not just to them, if they are going to trust you then they expect you to honor your commitments, period.

Every leader, every person really, has what I call a “credibility bank.” Every time we do what we say we will a small deposit is made into our bank. Every time we fail to do what we say will will a large withdrawal is taken from our bank.

If that doesn’t seem fair get over it. Building trust takes time and real trust doesn’t come easy for most people. The next time you’re tempted to blow off a commitment just remember your credibility bank and maybe the temptation will pass.

If trust building must be intentional as I’ve already said it must, then what and how do you plan to go about it. Seriously, I’m suggesting to you that you don’t just let trust happen, don’t just assume that people trust you. I’m suggesting that you become intentional in building trust. 

Take tons of notes about the commitments you’ve made, block time on your calendar to honor those commitments. Return phone calls, answer emails, if you say you’ll do something then by any and all means possible, do it! 

Virtually everything you say and do sends you to your credibility bank, the only questions is; will you be making a deposit or withdrawal?

Think about that for a while and then get busy adding to your credibility bank! 

No Relationship, No Leadership

Have you ever heard the saying “It’s lonely at the top?” It’s been said so often that some people in leadership positions actually believe that it should be lonely at the top. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. The real truth is this: if you’re a leader and you’re feeling lonely, you’re most certainly doing something wrong. I hate saying that so strongly but that is a fact.

You should absolutely not be lonely, you should be the most sought out person in your organization. Maybe not the most popular because authentic leadership is anything but a popularity contest, but your people should be seeking you out regularly with questions and ideas. 

If you don’t have regular, daily conversations with the people you lead it could well be that you’re lacking real relationships with them. When a relationship isn’t present it becomes very hard for a leader to demonstrate that they care for and value the people they lead.

If your people get so much as a hint that you don’t care about them as people your opportunity to truly lead them will be lost. 

Authentic leaders make building real relationships with their people one of their top priorities. They are intentional about it. They will literally schedule time into their day to “relationship build.” They get out their office and seek out the people they lead. Authentic leaders know that their success is completely dependent upon the success of the people they lead. Authentic leaders invest time with their people to ensure their people’s success. Authentic leaders celebrate the success of their people as much, or more, than their own. 

If you’re a leader you should know that your people value a relationship with you as much as they value recognition, promotions and often, even pay.

That relationship doesn’t have to extend outside of the work environment but it does need to be robust enough for them to know, without a doubt, that they are valued for what they do and who they are.

A leader’s relationship with their people needs to be “real.” As a leader, you need to know something about the people you lead. You can’t lead someone effectively until you know something about them. You can’t demonstrate that you care about them unless you can first demonstrate that you actually know them…. as a person. 

Some of the people who read this will think to themselves “I don’t have time for this relationship crap” and to you I would say this: 

If you don’t have the time to build real relationships with your people then maybe, just maybe, you don’t have time to lead.