I was stuck. The usual sales and account management techniques that I had been so vigorously schooled on to grow and sustain business relationships had been flipped upside down. There were no more lunches, in office visits, networking events, and or client workshops… my schedule and to do list was kind of wiped clean, and I had to figure out how I was going to continue to grow and sustain relationships during a pandemic that would all but disintegrate the knowledge I had acquired in my 5 decades of business success.
If you know me, then you know a challenge is far from a deterrent, so I have been determined to crack the code on sustaining critical (and important) relationships through an era of increasing/consistent social distancing. I found the inspiration for my plan, not in the corporate world and its encyclopedias of business knowledge, but in the personal world and the book of love… Couples who have maintained marriages and other significant relationships for long periods at long distances apart.
The common key elements that I found successful long-distance relationships hinge upon are:
- Setting Goals (realistic)
Translating those into what this means for our current business relationships, here are my 7 simple tips to managing (virtual) long distance relationships:
- Embrace technology: Utilize tools that are becoming everyday necessities such as video conferencing and community/social media sites and/or apps.
- Maintain open lines of communication: Provide the right volume (number / frequency) of touches. Relevancy and impact are important, but so is simply being there to chat.
- Change the way you think: Adaptability, flexibility, and creativity are essential.
- Stay organized and routine: Find/utilize an organizational system that works for you to ensure you can keep track of fluctuating schedules, deliverables, etc.
- Take the time to understand all goals and challenges: This includes both business and personal needs and challenges as required and appropriate.
- Focus on sustaining trust by following through on deliverables: Deliver to any promise and be a reliable, go-to resource for your customer.
- Be there when needed: Responsiveness builds trust and loyalty and creates extraordinary relationships