Who would you be more likely to go the extra mile for — a friend or an acquaintance? The answer is obvious, and it hints at a truth that could revolutionize your business: Strong relationships are the key to success.
Why Relationships = Money
If your business depends in any way on referrals, then you know the importance of relationships firsthand. Referrals = new clients. New clients = money. That said, in order to get a referral, you need to have a strong relationship with the referring party. This party may be a past client or another contact. If they are a friend, they’ll continue to send you clients, and they’ll be happy to do so.
The same holds true for your employees. If they’re friends rather than your acquaintances, odds are they’ll be more invested in their work each day. And that matters more than you might think. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Happy employees make happy customers?” It’s true, and they also make more money for their companies and are more productive.
If you can turn your employees, contacts, and customers into friends, you’ll be more successful. Are you struggling to form these relationships? Read Dale Carnegie’s legendary book How to Win Friends & Influence People.
The Wisdom Of How To Win Friends & Influence People
Right on the cover, Carnegie promises this is “the only book you need to lead you to success.” While that might be a bit of a stretch, it can certainly put you on the right path.
Carnegie’s book is a gold mine of advice for improving relationships 1 question, compliment, and greeting at a time. The book is based on two ideas. First, everyone needs to feel important. Second, giving a person that sense of self-worth is the best way to make a friend. If you want to be well-liked, Carnegie recommends 5 simple things:
- Show interest in people
- Smile more
- Remember their names
- Listen while they talk
- Make it a point to discuss their interests
Beyond friendship, the book dips into strategies for developing influence in 3 different forms:
- Getting people to do what you want
- Convincing them to consider your point of view
- Changing their patterns of behavior
Start by using these strategies to build better relationships with your employees. With Carnegie’s tactics in your back pocket, you’ll soon have your office operating like a well-oiled machine. Expand your efforts to include current and potential clients. Then watch your retention and referral rates go up, even as you convert more leads.
Dale does have one word of caution for business owners looking to use his book to get ahead: His strategies don’t work unless you’re sincerely interested in building relationships. Unless you’re a world-class actor, you can’t really fake friendship — and it’s probably not worth trying.
As a first step down the path of How to Win Friends, take a look at those around you. This includes your employees, clients, referral partners, and other business contacts. Are they people you want to get to know better? Do you actually care about them? If not, odds are you’re hiring the wrong people, working with the wrong clients, or working in the wrong field.
Before you put your valuable efforts into winning friends and influencing people, weed out those who aren’t worth your time. Your business will benefit and so will your mental health. And as you’re following Carnegie’s advice, remember to be genuine. In business, there’s a fine line between friendly and slimy — so walk on the right side.