Good relationships represent the foundation of business and personal success. Developed through a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic factors quality relationships can last a lifetime and lead to new career and personal paths. World renowned influence expert, Dale Carnegie, famously identified ways in which people can move into spheres of social and business recognition in his seminal book, How To Win Friends And Influence People (1936). The fact that 78 years on his sophist tract is lauded, and referenced by millions surely implies that there is longevity in his approach.
Determining factors such as the chemistry of interests, good rapport, appropriate behaviours and genuine concern generate relationships which build in strength over time for the benefit of all parties. Taking his advice as a starting point, here are four ways in which interactions in the socially dominant multi-connected world can deliver influence beyond initial effort.
1.Make Initial Contact
Making that first gesture of connection and friendship can often be the hardest part. Unless people are naturally extrovert then it requires an extra effort on individuals part to break the ice. Something as innocuous as enquiring about the weather or someone’s experience of a particular environment can lead to subjects of real interest which keep both parties communicating and eventually socialising. In business discovering those core needs and interests is often the first step in generating mutually lasting and beneficial outcomes. This in turn creates loyalty, sustained social interactions and grows the sales pipeline.
2. Mind Your Ps &Qs
Mind your Ps and Qs is an English expression which means to "mind your manners", "mind your language" and "be on your best behaviour" or equivalent. Parents educate their children that it a sign of politeness and good upbringing to remember to say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ in public interactions. It takes little effort but achieves maximum impact when this two little words are deployed. Businesses can go far, and even the extra mile, when they acknowledge customers across their chosen channels in this fundamental manner.
3.Engage With Real Interest
Many conversations meander. Once past the ‘welcome’ and initial ‘supply’ of information communication can dip and weave erratically. A quality interaction can often be abandoned after the necessities have been taken care of. In order to successfully move through the ‘impart and acquire’ level of communication there usually needs to be some interesting information which hooks the listener, or offers more depth in insight that the original enquiry expected. When companies interact with their customers they can do so by understanding exactly what the issue is and how to truly address it to make it a win-win conversation. After all the interaction should not be just about the business rather also about the customer's needs and desires.
4. Deepen The Quality Of Connection
Deep connections transform the mind, body and spirit. Deep connections have the stamp of trust on them. As with anything, for example as where a focused level of skill is attained, they can take years to build. Shallow and infrequent contact is likely to alienate many people as they may not believe you appreciate them or else are in contact simply to extract something. The keys to getting from occasional contact to deep trust lie in some simple yet highly effective strategies. These include delivering unique, first-hand knowledge regarding certain situations, memorable story telling, retelling experiences gained from known associates and giving out hard data. Then there’s the extra personal level such as remembering anniversaries, birthdays, Milestones and family particulars.
The better and deeper the knowledge imparted and details of the contact and customer base the greater the likelihood of influence and of solid engagement. Ultimately engagement binds people – and brands - together. It shows a shared vision and commitment to long-term goals and demonstrates a sense of trust. Getting to ‘trust’ via influence is the nirvana of brand-building organisations which wish to operate in the era of the social media associate. Reaching out to prospects, fans, peers and publics via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media platforms honestly, frequently, and with real interest is already becoming a strong marketing method for those firms of all sizes wishing to gain more advocates and evolve loyal enthusiasts. No doubt Dale Carnegie himself would have approved if he were around today.