We all get that relationships matter, and science can help us to focus on what matters in our professional and personal relationships.
Writing for Business Insider Science, Emily Esfahani Smith highlights some recent research that points to two key elements that are associated with long term relationships. They are: kindness and generosity.
Now while this research is from a study comparing long term loving marriages (referred to as the ‘masters’) with short lived or unhappy marriages (referred to as ‘disasters’), I am convinced these two character traits surely apply to almost every professional and personal relationship.
Being kind might sound a little soft to some, however being kind is to do things for others because of a genuine feeling of empathy. In business relationships, being kind is about adopting an empathy-approach to better understanding our clients’ wants, needs, problems and opportunities. This empathy-approach allows us to determine whether we are best placed with our products, services, or advice to improve the clients situation in a way they desire.
Knowing that we are best placed to serve the client, and by the client understanding that our intention is to do just that, speeds up trust, which speeds up the client’s sense of comfort and confidence to move forward in their buying decisions.
Yes… kindness towards our clients just makes sense.
Turning to generosity, the second element associated with long term relationships, this too makes sense in developing and nurturing our professional relationships.
There’s an old adage that goes something like promise low and deliver high. While I understand the sentiment of the adage, I don’t agree. I think it should be promise high and deliver even higher.
When we are generous towards our clients it doesn’t mean we become less profitable. It does mean however that we need to have a clear plan and strategy of what, when, where, how and why we set out to meet and then exceed client expectations.
Again, adopting a kind and generous approach or culture in the way we go about finding, winning and keeping clients might sound a little soft and new age, however, if kindness and generosity are the glue that binds long term personal relationships, I reckon that’s compelling evidence to at least give it a go with our professional relationships as well.