Have you ever noticed that many professionals and business owners are excellent at what they do – but awkward or even awful when it comes to connecting and communicating with other people?
This is because they are excellent at ‘technical intelligence’ but often poor at ‘relationship intelligence’ – and as a result no matter how good they are technically they often fail to influence, impress or project their value to colleagues or clients.
You might even have noticed that teams within organisations exhibit the same lack of ability to win people’s trust or project their perceived value into the wider organisation. Classic examples of such team can be legal teams, or technical support teams, finance teams or even – HR teams.
I see this especially in professional services, consulting, technology/engineering, architectural and financial firms,all the time.
Relationship intelligence can be defined as the ability to get people ‘to know, like and trust us’ enough to listen to what it is we say and to be influenced by our messages. It contains elements of emotional intelligence (which is an awareness of how we feel and respond to things) and social intelligence (which is our ability to influence other people’s feelings and responses).
In today’s world the part played by technically excellent people is increasing – and not just when it comes to delivering outcomes. Increasingly clients are looking to engage with ‘experts’ rather than those who might be seen as ‘sales people’ and that is why it has become vital for such technically excellent people to develop the ability to learn and apply more relationship intelligence.
It is so vital today because now such technical experts must be the one’s to create trust in the mind of the client and key stakeholders – and if they fail to do so, then their technical intelligence just is no longer enough to keep the interest of the client or internal stakeholder – they will just look elsewhere.
However just creating trust isn’t enough anymore either – there are levels of trust in relationships and all of us need to be able to create ‘High’ trust in business. Today it is no longer enough just to be trusted by a client or prospect – we now have to create a ‘High Trust’ relationship.
But what do I mean by ‘High’ trust?
What is ‘High Trust’?
Have you ever noticed that you have relationships with some people and clients that while you trust them – you still don’t share everything with them?
However you also have relationships with other people and clients that you have a high degree of trust with and you are happy to share everything with them without any hesitation or reservation – and they have a similar relationship with you.
In such a ‘High Trust’ relationship clients see us as their ‘Go To’ person if they have a problem that needs solving. They call us before they call anyone else – because we are so important to them that we are on their speed dial. Imagine being the person that a client or a senior company stakeholder automatically looks to when they have a need? What position of influence does that offer you?
This is what I call a ‘High’ trust relationship and is the optimum place for us as high trust advisors and professionals.
For me there are certain key elements that drive our ability to create high levels of trust in any business relationship:
Create Compelling Marketing Messages
‘High Trust’ starts with our ability to be able to create marketing messages that are emotionally and not just technically compelling. Research shows that as much as 90% of our business decisions are driven by our emotions – that’s why most brand advertising is both repetitive and emotionally engaging – it speaks to deep emotional needs. But when was the last time your business messages spoke to the emotional need of a client or a colleague? If not, how do you expect to capture and hold their attention in a world where the attention span of people continues to drastically diminish?
Getting Your Message to the Right Person
Next is our ability to be able to take those messages and get access to the people who matter most to us – and the means of doing that is personal contact networking. Being in the right room, with the right people, with the right message – and knowing what to do in that environment. People are naturally nervous of networking – there is a high chance of being rejected and that’s just not nice. However once you understand the true objective of why we network – and it’s not to ‘sell’ or to ‘pitch’ to people – and the strategies to use when networking then anyone can do it effortlessly and easily.
Build Trust and Rapport
Then once we have managed to get access – now we build rapport and trust. For this we can learn a methodology that ensures a powerful first impression and then the ability to adapt and work with many different personality types building deep and lasting levels of high trust.
Asking the Right Questions
Of course once we have built that trust we then need to be able to manage the outcomes of these relationships and this requires becoming fluent in advanced questions and suggestion skills and making presentations that engage and hold the attention of increasingly sophisticated audiences.
Today’s business and professional advisors (both internal and external) need to be able to create relationships that stakeholders and clients find compelling and engaging and which encourages them to share all their concerns, wants and needs with us – seeing us as ‘non-equity’ partners in their business or even their career rather than merely ‘solution providers’.
Clients will always see a ‘High Trust Advisor’ as essential to their business – the ‘go to’ person whenever they have a need. When you create such a relationship your clients automatically see you in a different light – and with a different and compelling value.
Want more? Truth is, a lot of professional advisors have asked “can you generate a steady stream of new prospects from networking?” This free report I just published – 7 Naughty Networking Mistakes, answers that question and a whole LOT more! You can grab it FREE here.