Big data, big deals, big markets…our business is full of imposing things. They obviously deserve some attention, but I’m here to tell you that the big things are not the most important. This holds true for any industry: the people who excel are those who pay attention to the little things. They know the importance of direct human contact to their success. You’ve heard the stories. A big-time newspaper editor responds to a letter from a small girl (“Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”), a president sends a personal thank you to Reddit users for their help with securing Net Neutrality, or an entertainer sending hand-written thank you note to fans. These small gestures make huge ripples and often have effects years or even decades later.
In business being accessible and responsive creates customer loyalty; you become a real person who is affected by their actions. It shows that you are paying attention and you appreciate the fact that this person has made contact. A personal connection is formed that has a very real influence on behavior. My single-most driver in business pertains to how you interact with your clients, and the same goes for your co-workers.
In fact, I talked about this in one of my recent blogs: Webinar vs. Human Contact.
Most people think they are too busy to do this. They don’t take time to notice the little things and recognize them for what they are: an opportunity to plant that seed of goodwill and trust. The real rockstars have figured out the importance of things like accessibility, connection, follow-through, and the personal touch.
And I’m not talking here about getting your assistant to send an email for you. You can’t outsource this job. Your personal connections have to come directly from you and reflect your willingness to take a minute (it doesn’t require much more) to respond to and acknowledge others. It means that you consider them to be important, and that is something that everyone wants to feel.
There’s a saying by which I try to live: “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another." There is no doubt that by making it a practice to be accessible and responsive, you will influence others to do the same. That’s what I mean by ripples. You never know how your actions will act in the lives of people you may never even meet.
A great read on how accessibility and connection can fuel your influence - both in your personal and business relationships - is Influence by Robert Cialdini. It looks at the science behind influence, and offers great lessons if you want to step up your rockstar game.
In short, being personally accessible makes you stand out in your field, and it gives us the human connection that we all want and strive for in our everyday lives. You may be surprised how often a customer will comment that your response was the only one they received, or that they had never had a note of appreciation from another business contact like they received from you. This makes you memorable, and it’s what the real rockstars do.
Throughout my professional career, I’ve worked hard to show in my actions just how much personal relationships matter to me. It’s more than just the end game; it’s about enjoying the journey. When you love what you do and you thrive on the human connection, your professional relationships will grow because they feel that sincerity in your work. This will make what you do everyday more rewarding than ever … and that’s how you move from somebody to rockstar.