The Brand Bridge
I believe one of the biggest problems in relationships is that many of us have become people who listen only with the intent to reply. We don’t truly listen anymore. We are only thinking what we will be saying next. This is a problem personally but it is also a large problem when this happens in business.
I truly shudder to think of all the business and relationships I may have lost out on because I couldn’t stop talking. It could have been awkward silences I felt I needed to fill or not being comfortable around people I didn’t know but looking back I feel like I was always talking. As I’ve matured personally and professionally, I am more confident in rooms full of people I don’t know and really have no issue talking to anyone. I’ve loved getting to know strangers! And during this time I can also see how my relationships have increased and so have my sales. Why? Because I’m not talking to talk. I’m listening and because of that I find the need.
The Brand Bridge is a simple concept to help business owners and managers understand how to better communicate with potential clients and people in general. One side of the bridge is a business owners ideas of how to sell their company. The other side holds the needs and reasons people buy what they do. The bridge you build between your ideas and their reasons for buying must be set on trust and values for it to be strong enough to create a profitable, long term relationship for the both of you. You are not going to build the bridge by continuing to base messages off of what you think people want to hear instead of learning what they need to know.
So how do you learn? Listen. It is really and truly that simple of a concept. Listen with the intent to get to know them better and to be able to help them. One of my favorite mantras to live my life on is that every person should leave better than when they met you.
I can pinpoint the exact moment I learned to build the bridge. I was working with a client on fundraising for community needs. I had an entire plan on what I was going to pitch for the client to this potential funder along with all our other needs in a simple document for them. During the beginning of chit-chat in our meeting I asked them what were some of their business goals this year. Not one goal matched what I had planned to pitch them. However another program I had lined up with exactly what they needed and would be more profitable for my client and the community. If I hadn’t taken the time to listen to this I would have missed out on thousands of dollars of sponsorship. The bridge to what they needed and what we were able to give was right in front of me because I took the time to ask and listen to what they had to say.
Taking the time to get to know potential and current clients is the best time I have invested into my company. If your company needs you to do this on a larger scale than consider focus groups of your current, past and potential customers. Investing the time in relationship building will help you build a strong Brand Bridge.