I’ve been thinking more and more about business relationships. How I value having a personal relationship with those people that I interact with in the business world. I want to hear stories about your family, know the names of your dogs, understand when you can’t work because you have an immigration appointment, or hear about your upcoming marriage. I don’t want to go through life not knowing about people but I also want to do this in person. Although I keep my face in my phone or computer for much of the day, I don’t want to only learn about your life through social media. For those business relationships that I interact with on a weekly or monthly or even once a year basis I want to have a discussion with you.
It’s about honesty. Tell me why you have to cancel an appointment not just that you have to do so. I think the people on the other end (for the most part) appreciate this as well. I’ll tell you the highlight of my meeting, or why I’m not comfortable eating in your restaurant, or that great interaction I had with your sales person. I know that in a small town these personal business relationships come a little easier. However, in my mind there’s a focus on knowing your client in a small town that sometimes gets lost in the big city. But I still believe they exist everywhere if people take the time to make it happen. Like the guy who sells us eggs a the farmer’s market. We found him at the beach farmer’s market this summer. I struck up a conversation and learned that he actually lives closer to the beach and travels almost three hours each way to get to my local farmer’s market each week. Amazing. I love his eggs not only because they are so fresh and have such bright yellow yolks but because I know a bit more about him. His eggs are so delicious that several local restaurants note them on their menu. He’s not the big box farm but a local man with a great product personally selling them to the community. Just simple good eggs.
My father recently received a handwritten note in the mail from an excavator who was retiring. The note went on to say that after knowing my father’s family for over sixty years it seemed fitting that he was retiring after working on a job for my father. It was a very touching note reminiscing over my grandfather and his father’s own relationship. I can only hope that I can find alliances like that one that can continue on with future generations. It’s a craft that I certainly look forward to teaching my future children to value.
I keep looking for these significant interactions in my business relationships. To develop clients, workers, and employees into friends that mean more than just a passing hello.