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Can you relate to modern relationships?

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

In the world of business, we've often heard the adage, "It's all about relationships" and "It's not what you know, it's who you know." However, recent events have brought new dynamics and choices to the forefront, prompting us to question the traditional ways we’d use to build & preserve our relationships. Face -to-face meetings and networking are obvious examples where times have changed, and we must adapt.

Companies increasingly discourage excessive business intimacy to avoid biased buying decisions, while sellers strive to differentiate themselves through stronger relationships. Millennials have introduced new communication and engagement behaviors, challenging the nature of future human relations. Covid further promoted remote business and the physical distance it brings further impact trust and relationship dynamics. In this ever-changing landscape, questions outnumber answers.

Defining business relationships is no easy task. While we focus on professional relationships, we can't ignore the overlap with personal connections and the inherent biases and motivations that come into play. A key challenge is the disingenuous nature of contrived business relationships. Those that lack authenticity.

Relationships in business require vision and shared understanding. Building relationships allows prospects to see the vision, but prospects often want to see the vision before investing in the relationship. That’s a problem! Developing defined business relationships is crucial. Questions surrounding value, boundaries, roles, and risk management need to be addressed, although such discussions are often absent from leaders' and sales teams' conversations.

There is a wealth of information available on building and managing relationships, but the contrived nature of some approaches raises doubts about their authenticity (even back as far as Dale Carnegie’s “how to use friends to influence people.”

The enduring Sirius' Demand Spectrum model helps us understand different types of demand and the relationships required within each category. The nature of our demand type helps us recognize the corresponding nature of our market. What activities are possible or viable and therefore how do our sales motions look and our sellers behave.

Trust is a critical factor in business relationships. However, forces like changes in community structures, fast-spreading bad news, the erosion of trust in institutions, and the prioritization of expediency over ethics have undermined our willingness to assume trustworthiness until proven otherwise. Now it’s more the other way round! Technological advancements and generational shifts have reshaped relationship dynamics, but it is unclear how profoundly they have affected fundamental human behavior.

Shining the Light

Finding a balance is key. Understanding the demand type of your target market helps tailor relationship approaches. Authenticity (and honesty) is crucial in building relationships, as contrived efforts often so (and should) backfire. Instead of attempting to control and plan every interaction, be yourself and let natural connections unfold. Strive for thoughtfulness and embrace a hybrid sales force that combines different approaches. While the landscape of business relationships continues to evolve, the principles of trust, authenticity, and genuine connections remain paramount. By navigating this changing terrain with a balanced and thoughtful approach, meaningful relationships that drive business growth can still be forged.

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