2 Simple Keys to Building Great Relationships

Whether professionally or personally I bet those of you reading this would like to have better relationships with certain
people in your lives. You might realize a better relationship with coworkers
would make work more enjoyable. If you’re in sales, stronger relationships with
clients helps them stay with you and your firm longer. On a personal level life
is more enjoyable with good friends and family you truly enjoy being
I have good news – there are several simple
things we can all do to build stronger, longer lasting relationships with people.
I was in Austin last month to host the
Principles of Persuasion workshop for a group of agents and during the workshop
we talked about two principles of influence that can create and strengthen
relationships – liking and reciprocity.
Reciprocity is the principle that alerts us to
this reality; when we do something for someone they usually feel some sense of
obligation to “return the favor.” Why does engaging reciprocity help
relationships? When you do something for someone else they usually appreciate
the effort and in the midst of that they experience good feelings towards you. Those
good feelings are a result of endorphins kicking in and their thoughts toward
you are positive.
A word of caution – you don’t do things to
build a “bank” of favors. We can all think of people we know who keep mental
accounts and it usually makes us suspicious when they do something for us. I
know I’ve encountered people like that and I find myself more focused on “what
do you want” instead of appreciating what they’re doing.
Liking is the other relationship principle. We
know we like people who like us and it makes everything easier when we have to
deal with them. Getting people to like us is fairly easy. If you connect on
things you have in common that’s a great way to start easy conversations and
build from there. I always think of my wife, Jane, when it comes to this
principle because if she sees someone wearing Pittsburgh Steelers clothing she
almost always says, “Go Steelers.” In the blink of an eye they’re talking and
you’d think they’d known each other for years.
Another simple way to engage liking is to
share compliments with people when you note something praiseworthy. All too
often people have good thoughts about others but don’t share them. You’ll get
those endorphins flowing with the other person if you offer a sincere
compliment. As Abraham Lincoln said, “Everyone likes a compliment.”
Now here’s the real key to liking and reciprocity
– focus on the other person and their best interests, not your own. When it
comes to reciprocity, become the kind of person who genuinely wants to help
others. The more that people sense you have their best interests at heart the
more open they’ll be to your offer to help. Don’t worry about what you’ll get
in return, just give because the more you help people, the more they’ll want to
help you. That’s why Zig Ziglar famously said, “You can get everything you want
in life if you’ll just help enough other people get what they want.”
How do we focus on the other person with
liking? Simple – don’t try to get them to like you, try to come to like them. The same things that will make
people like you will make you like them. If you find you come from the same hometown,
have the same pets, root for the same team, etc., it becomes easy for you to
like them. And, as you see praiseworthy traits and verbalize them you begin to
convince yourself the other person is really a good guy or gal. Believe me, the
other person will sense when you truly like them and that’s when everything
So the bottom line is this – look for ways to
give and connect that are in the best interest of others. They’ll appreciate it
and respond positively and it will have the same effect on you. It will truly
be a win-win for everyone.
Brian, CMCT®
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
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