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The month of November in the US is a time for us to look forward to our Thanksgiving holiday and for a time for reflection and giving thanks. It’s one of my favorite times of the year as I’m a strong believer that all of us need to reflect more often. I believe I have so much to be “thankful” for both personally and professionally beyond the month of November.

In business, I am so thankful for the relationships I have established. Frankly, it’s what I enjoy most. I’ve learned that although having a great product or solution to offer is important, the crucial element of business is relationships with people and for me, it’s the fun part. People don’t do business with companies; people do business with people.

Strong relationships require time, effort and thoughtfulness. All too often businesses and salespeople are focused on the “transaction” when we should be focused on strengthening the relationship with the people we do business with.

Strong relationships are built on trust and building trust takes time. Trust can never be taken for granted. It takes nine to eighteen months of communicating with someone before they decide to do a business transaction with you. Another way to look at this is that it takes nine to 18 months to build trust. This isn’t just the AV industry, but rather all industries. This timeline may seem long, however, it makes sense if you really think about it. People do business with people they trust.  It takes time to build trust and it takes a concerted effort that doesn’t happen overnight.
All too often we become impatient and we don’t make the investment in nurturing relationships and building new relationships. I know that I have to focus my efforts on this and it’s an area on which I can improve upon. One thing I do to help my focus is; every week I carve out two hours to just brainstorm ways that I can nurture and grow my relationships. I don’t always get my two hours in, but it’s a goal that I strive for.

During this week of giving “thanks” consider reaching out to some of your business relationships and consider what you might do to move a relationship forward. Remember, these are great ways to thank you any time of year! Some ideas for you to consider:

Send A Handwritten “Thank You” Card

To clients letting them know you do appreciate their relationship.
To your vendors. Often we are not focused on thanking those that contribute to how we get your business done.
To your employees to thank them for their contributions.

Do Something Extra
Write an unsolicited recommendation
Post on LinkedIn or other social outreach
Send an article of news or related topic via e-mail or snail mail on a topic that you know may be of interest to your client.
Recommend them to someone who could use their services.
Introduce them to something you’ve found valuable like a networking opportunity.
 
Host A Customer Appreciation Day
Organize an open house at your place of business so your VIPs can rub elbows with you, your staff, and one another. Provide snacks, beverages, and desserts.
 
Spread The Word
Shine the spotlight on a special customer in your company newsletter, in your social media outreach, every month or quarter.
Tell readers how important that person is to your business, as well as what you’ve done for them.
Let me end by saying “thank you” to all of you who have contributed to my personal and professional life. It’s been so rewarding and enjoyable.
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