Relationship Breakthroughs (No. 1): Change the Relationship Environment
How do you get a breakthrough in a relationship? How do you take it to the next level? There are a number of actions that will help you do this. Over the next 15 blog entries or so, I am going to highlight these one by one.
(1) Change the relationship experience environment.
Studies on marriage show that when couples change their traditional environments (i.e., go to new restaurants, places, events, etc.) their feelings of intimacy increase. The same is true of client relationships. When you get outside the office, and interact over a meal, at an arts performance, or during an offsite meeting, you connect in ways you never will in a formal conference room. You talk about different, more personal things. You open up more.
It may be difficult to do this with some clients, but they also understand its value. More than once I’ve heard, “Once in a while, get me out of the office!” from corporate executives. They are busy, but they know it’s a positive thing to do.
Make a list of a handful of your key relationships. Pick two or three you are trying to develop further. Plan some activities to change the relationship experience environment. Go out for a meal. Have coffee in the cafeteria. Bring them to a conference. Hold an offsite. Invite them to a special dinner with other clients, and arrange for a guest speaker.