Back to Business: Referral Relationships for the Long Haul

By Paula Hope

In the long run, it is the high quality relationships developed over the long haul that really serve you when you are growing your business or practice by referral. When you have the right people on your referral bus, folks with great relationship management skills, you have a much better shot at creating strong relationships that create strong referrals.

Here’s how emotional intelligence experts, Bradberry and Greaves, introduce the concept of Relationship Management in their ground-breaking book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (with bolding by me):

Though relationship management is the second component of social competence, this skill often taps into your abilities in the first three emotional intelligence skills: self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness. Relationship management is your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and those of others to manage interactions successfully. This ensures clear communication and effective handling of conflict. Relationship management is also the bond you build with others over time.

People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those that they are not fond of. Solid relationships are something that should be sought and cherished. They are the result of how you understand people, how you treat them, and the history that you share.

The weaker the connection you have with someone, the harder it is to get your point across. If you want people to listen, you have to practice relationship management and seek benefits from every relationship, especially the challenging ones. The difference between an interaction and a relationship is a matter of frequency. It’s a product of the quality, depth, and time you spend interacting with another person.

There are many referral marketing concepts that Bradberry and Greaves’s research support beautifully, including two key ones: the power of frequency and the power of time. My next post will review a selection of the 17 “Relationship Management” strategies that is on tap in Emotional Intelligence 2.0.

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