- From Professional to Friendly
“Every great business is built on friendship.” – J.C. Penney
All meaningful business transactions are done person to person. When a client deals with a faceless business it is impersonal and purely transactional. A Trusted Advisor quickly moves people to a personal relationship, whilst professionalism is still displayed in the quality of their service and their responsiveness to their customers.
If I buy a magazine about holidays in Europe from a newsagency I am thinking completely transactionally. I want to be able to find the magazine easily because the newsagency is logically laid out and well presented. When I hand my money over I expect the person to be dressed appropriately and respond politely and promptly when I come to the counter to pay. I would consider that a professional newsagency.
People want to do business with people who are professional, not haphazard and unpredictable. They want to know if they hand their money over they will get what they paid for in the way they were expecting.
However, if the staff are also friendly and engage me in conversation about my interest in holidays in Europe, making me feel welcome and interested in me, then we are taking a step beyond the transaction and we are becoming familiar with each other as people, not just as buyer and seller. Of course, if they do it in a stale and ‘my boss makes me do this’ kind of way, I will pick up on that and won’t perceive it as friendly.
As a Broker, people expect you to be professional or they won’t deal with you in the first place. But if you cling to a professional aloofness you won’t get beyond a transactional relationship. You need to show genuine interest in them and move towards a friendly interaction.
Everyone knows that a business exists to make a profit, but we know that individuals will make decisions for personal reasons. This is why people do single transactions with organisations and will continue to do so only as long as it suits them. They might develop some brand loyalty, but they don’t build relationships with them.
People can, though, build relationships with individuals within those organisations. So just as you need to bring yourself to the fore in your marketing, you need to forge a person to person relationship in the services you provide. The organisation may have a lot of credibility and a good name which is helping you, but if you don’t bring things to an individual level, of one person helping another, you won’t get past a transactional relationship.