When I was young my grandmother was fond of telling me that relationships are like flowers. They need water, good soil, sun, and fertilizer, but also they need to be weeded and pruned. Basically, they require work and time – they need to be nurtured.


Unfortunately, today most “relationships” we engage in are purely transactional. With the advent of the internet we are connected with “friends” and family all around the world. We connect via a “like” or a brief comment, or maybe even a text, but are we truly connected, such that  we’d have real support if we needed it?

I took my Grandmother’s advice to heart all of those years ago and whenever I’m out I always try to form deeper, authentic relationships with those that I meet.

The other day I was at my local drug store, and I struck up a conversation with the pharmacist. Even though both she and I were busy, we took the time to find out a bit about each other.  We learned about our backgrounds, names and families. I commented on her pen – one that had multiple colored inks in it – because it reminded me of one I had in high school. As we parted she actually gave me the pen as a gift. A few day later I had to go back to drop of my prescription and talked to Annie* again. Later that same afternoon Simon went to pick up the prescription for me. When he came home and handed me my prescription, he was smiling broadly and pointed to the  handwritten note on the bag. The note said, “Anita, I have applied a one time use savings card for your medication. Have a great day. Annie”*. The cost of the medication was $0.00. Yes completely free! This particular medication is for my asthma and I usually have to pay $349.00 for it. Annie* didn’t have to do this for me, and I’m sure she wouldn’t have taken the time to do it for everyone, but because I’d taken the time to build a relationship with her I was rewarded.

No matter what you do for a living or aspire to become, building real relationships with real people in the real world is more important than ever.

In business it all comes down to people working together to make something happen. Whether it’s creating a product, delivering a service, or negotiating a partnership, all organizations are an aggregation of endless formal and informal interactions.

But the key to business success is winning and keeping customers. And the key to winning and keeping customers is, and has always been,  relationships.

As a business owner, you want to think of every client as a potential lifelong customer, who will not only continue to do business with you but invite other people they know to do business with you too.

Every successful executive and entrepreneur will tell you, their most important asset is their network – not their virtual network, but their real one.

Sales transactions are between two real human beings. Even with ecommerce, most sales transactions are still between two human beings. Buyer behavior is mostly subjective and relationships are a big factor. In a service business, they’re the biggest factor, hands down.

Being appreciative to those around us can boost productivity, thus improving work quality and producing better returns. This can take the form of more sales, increased revenue or more demand for products — not to mention it will create a happier environment in general.

When opportunity knocks, it’s always a person knocking … and another person answering. No matter how badly we want to believe that all of our opportunities and answers are on web, it’s just not true. Every job, every piece of advice, every business deal, every vendor comes from a relationship.

In reality, we all need to become expert communicators in order to have the operations in our ventures run smoothly — business-related or not.

Relationships can positively or negatively affect your satisfaction with your  job, and your ability to advance and gain recognition for your achievements. When you build positive relationships, you feel more comfortable with your interactions and less intimidated by others. You feel a closer bond to the people you spend the majority of your time working with.

However, for a lot of us, relationship building isn’t natural or easy to do, and most of us refuse to admit this is a concern because it is such a basic, common sense concept. Don’t fall into that trap. Everyone, everyone – even the most outgoing, engaging personalities can improve their skills in this area. If you want to  improve your communication skills with vendors, customers, or clients, or to improve interactions with your boss, team members, project managers, direct reports and administrators, please give Jager a call at (440) 506-4347 or email at contact@jagerconsulting.com