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Are you in the business of cultivating relationships?

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With all the talk about how important relationships are, why don’t we spend more time actively cultivating them? The fact is that often we are busy just trying to get through the day. And, relationships are not what we do in our businesses, right? Most sales firms are not actually in the “relationship business.”

We know relationships are important, so let’s focus on the quantitative reality. Look back on your previous sales and try to affix a reason you acquired your best clients and your biggest sales. When you evaluate your business in this way, you may notice that the way others “feel” about you is critically important. They certainly would not go out of their way to do business with you or talk about you with others because of your offering alone. There are likely many others who can or do provide the same core offering.

Next, think about quantifying in dollars the value of the referrals, word of mouth and repeat business you’ve received. What would that number be? Combine this with the “why did they choose me” question and you have a pretty compelling reason to cultivate relationships with prospects and clients. Almost always, there is a direct correlation between the quality of these relationships and the rate of sales growth in your business.

Now ask yourself if these facts are important enough to make the change to being more proactive in your business relationships? Consider this challenge: Reach out to one person each day above and beyond your regular day’s interactions—just one proactive contact with a client, prospect or a potential strategic alliance. You may find it can make a significant difference in both how you feel and (more important) how others feel about you.

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Maribeth Kuzmeski is the founder of Red Zone Marketing, LLC, which consults to Fortune 500 firms on strategic marketing planning and business growth. For more information, go to