Last week I was deliberately observing key moments in business relationships. And two particular moments stood out… for the wrong reasons.
I met somebody last week that I’d only previously known on paper by their reputation and experience. Someone we may well develop an ongoing business relationship with.
It was a typical introduction. We smiled and shook hands, and then he handed me his business card. Which wasn’t easy considering he had an armful of files, and was fishing for it with his other hand.
But before I could even take it he was already looking down at his briefcase, ready to pick it up and head to the meeting.
Our meeting would have had far more impact if he’d taken an extra ten seconds to maintain eye contact and make a genuine connection. Perhaps even putting the files down and handing the card over with two hands, as it’s often done in Asian countries. It would have given me a much stronger belief that he values the relationship, and takes the time to build trust.
My wife and I went for dinner to one of our long-time favourite restaurants, which has recently changed hands. Unfortunately we didn’t enjoy the meal as much as we have in the past, which may be why I was so acutely aware of the rest of our experience.
At the end of the meal we paid the bill, and they thanked us for our custom. Then we heard a comment that’s heard so often in these situations: “Hope to see you next time”.
But the cashier who said it was already looking down at the desk and filing the docket. And so the comment felt far less meaningful and genuine than if they maintained eye contact while they said it.
The power of these small moments of impact in business can grow exponentially. It’s all about making connections with people, which in turn quickly creates strong relationships. And the best thing about these moments of impact? All it will probably cost you is a minute of your time.
This stuff is simple, but not necessarily easy. You may need to change long-term habits, and retrain yourself and your staff.
But the payoff—financially and emotionally—will be huge.