To take a quick re-cap. In Part 1, we looked at Visibility in our relationship and the 3 steps on the ladder that we need to go through whilst developing the stage in the relationships that we have.
The first step is Awareness which is that time when we first come into contact with someone, which can happen in any number of different ways.
Familiarity is Step 2. Now we’re at a stage in the relationship where people start to recognise us or our name. And vice versa.
As people start to Know & Like you, you move on to Step 3. Just remember that knowing you is not, usually, enough. People need to like you if you want to move up to the next Step.
As people start to develop confidence in you you start to develop credibility and move up to Step 4. Inspiring people’s confidence in us is what it’s all about. And the activities we need to engage in are the same ones we need to be engaging in to move up onto Step 5 where people develop trust in you. It’s simply a process where people start to trust you as their confidence grows.
So. lets now move on to the final two Steps on the relationship ladder. Those two where we start to move into the realms of creating Profitabilty from the relationship.
Once you’ve fully established your Credibility, once the Confidence and the Trust that people have in you (and in what you do) grows to a certain level, they will start to develop a degree of Reliance upon you. At this point you’ve now climbed up on to the 6th rung on the Relationship Ladder.
Every step on the ladder is important but once you’ve got up to the Reliance step it’s essential that you work to maintain everything that you’ve now achieved and consolidate your position.
When people start to develop Reliance on you, you need to demonstrate that their Reliance is justified so that it continues to develop. Consolidation is the name of the game here and you achieve that by doing more of the same. Every step you’ve taken, everything you’ve given, every way that you’ve found to add value to the relationship, so far, you simply need to do more of.
When people become Reliant on you it means that, if they have a need for your product or service themselves, they wouldn’t consider using anyone else, at all. You would be their first, and probably, only port of call.
It also means that they would be highly likely to refer you in the event that someone asked if they knew anyone that does what you do. They have confidence in you and they trust you and they would refer you to the most important people in their personal contact sphere. However, on this Step of the relationship ladder, their referrals would tend to be reactive ones. That is, they will refer you when the subject of your product or service comes up.
The final Step on the relationship ladder, the pinnacle that we all should be aiming for, is when people become a Raving Fan, both of you, and of what you do. This is when everything that you’ve been working for comes together.
You’ve moved up the ladder from Awareness to Familiarity and then on to Knowing & Liking. You’ve established Confidence which has developed into Trust and you’ve moved beyond the level of Reliance.
So, what differentiates a Raving Fan from someone who’s Reliant on you?
Well, a Raving Fan doesn’t just refer you should the occasion arrive, they proactively look to refer you.
Being proactive about referring you means that they actively seek out opportunities to refer their contacts to you. They want to help you get as much business as possible and will be proactively looking for opportunities to create a referral for you.
For example, let’s say that you supply and install hardwood flooring. Someone that’s reliant on you is talking with a contact about the fact that they’re having some work done on their house. If that contact happens to mention the fact that they want a hardwood floor as part of the work they’re having done, you will be referred to them. However, if they don’t mention the flooring, you won’t be.
If that person we’re a raving fan they would start asking questions about the work being done and even ask, directly, what they were planning to do with the flooring. They ask these questions because they’re trying to create a referral for you at every opportunity.
This is the pinnacle, the top Step on the relationship ladder. It’s from the level of this Step that you will gain the maximum profitability from any relationship. Of course, the maximum profitability is gained when each of you are on the others’ top Step and the relationship becomes a real win – win scenario.
And there we have it; 7 Steps to a Profitable Relationship. It’s the way we move through the Visibility and Credibility stages to create Profitability from our relationships. But there are some things that you need to remember;
- Building a relationship requires an investment of time. It doesn’t just happen.
- Whatever you give to help build a relationship must be given without any kind of attachment. Without any expectation of getting anything in return.
- You have control over how long it takes to build a relationship but it does take two of you to have one – and the Know & Like part is very important.
- Never force any part of the process. Doing so will only result in you dropping down the ladder rather than moving up.
- It’s far easier to move down the ladder than it is to move up it.
- If you do happen to move down the relationship ladder, it will probably take more time to move back up than it originally did.
- If you always do what you say you’re going to do, you’re unlikely to slip down.
- Whatever you do, make it fun.
Finally, remember that everyone you know has a ladder for you and that you have a ladder for everyone you know. You should always be thinking about where you want to be on someones ladder, where you actually are on their ladder and on what you need to do in order to move up to where you want to be. And if you’re not sure, try sharing this information with them and then asking them.
Here’s wishing you some exceptionally profitable relationships.