by Motivation Expert, Jim Cathcart

I’ve been speaking and writing about “Relationship Selling” since the 1970s, in fact, I wrote the very first book with that title. Since then the phrase ‘relationship selling’ has fallen into common usage and people often tell me, “That’s what I do…Relationship Selling.” When I ask them what that means they usually say, “I believe in building relationships with my customers.”

Well, that’s nice, but what does it really mean?

Out of over 2,700 speeches I’ve delivered around the world I have never encountered an audience where most of them agreed on a specific definition of a relationship. They seem to be guessing when they answer my query, “what is a relationship?”

So I decided to come up with a definition we can all use. If you find a better definition for business applications then please share it with me. Until then please use mine.

A Relationship is:

A Direct Connection Between People In Which Value Is Exchanged. 

All the words in this definition are intentional. “Direct Connection” says that a relationship needs to have two or more participants. You cannot build a relationship from one side only. Nor can it be done without direct contact in communication, preferably face-to-face, but certainly one-to-one.

“Between People” says that you do not have a relationship with a company or a product. It is only between living, breathing, thinking humans.

“Value Is Exchanged” indicates that without contribution from both parties there is no true relationship. If only one party is bringing value to the connection then it’s a transaction, not a relationship.

All of this begs a bigger question: How do I increase the value of my relationships?

Give more value.

It really is that simple. Find out what the other person values and then give more of that to them. They will consider their connection with you to be more important and they will work to sustain the relationship. So if you want the other person to look forward to the next contact with you, to consider you an important part of their network, or to value what you have to say…then give them more value.

The issue here is increasing your Relationship Intelligence®, that means becoming more intelligent about your relationships, seeing them as assets and making better choices.

For more on this read the many blogposts here (there are over 300 of them!) and check out my Online Store at the tab above this article. I look forward to bringing more value to you.

In the Spirit of Growth,

Jim Cathcart

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