When Connection goes wrong
Some people are amazing at building rapport.
They’re naturals. Everywhere they go, they meet more people who like them and who trust them. It’s almost like they can’t help it….or can they?
I recently met someone like this, who connected with me so well that I had to stop myself from admiring his skills because at one point, I realised that’s what they were. Skills. Skills so refined and practiced that he almost seemed genuine in his ability to understand what made me tick. But when I received a proposal from him that was in no way tailored to our 2 hour conversation or to my requirements at all it stopped me in my tracks.
And it was late.
And he was asking me to attend other non-related events.
I’m not sure why.
I’m not sure how often this works for him. I wanted to believe that he really got me, and that I’d found a deeper level connection from a potential supplier. I was in the customer’s shoes for once, and it was an enlightening perspective.
Because there was a massive disconnect.
I felt cheated. It made me rethink the conversation and wonder if he even knows how damaging this interaction was to his brand (for me anyway), or even if he thought about it at all?
Does he understand the importance of congruence? Does he think he is congruent? Am I overly critical because of the lens through which I’m looking? It’s all possible.
After all, connection is a major behavioural skill set I train and encourage my clients to hone. But not just to get an outcome or if there isn’t something in it for me today, I simply move on. That to me is not only ruthless, it’s short-sighted. Dumb even.
Connection without congruence isn’t connection. It’s manipulation. It speaks to intention. It speaks volumes about values.
Connection is your ticket to the dance, but it’s your behaviour from that point on that builds trust, loyalty and raving fans. When you show up beyond the initial interaction to help that person with no immediate pay off for you personally, it deposits into the Emotional Bank account. When you demonstrate your genuine care about the person, it’s genuine connection. And it all pays off. Sometimes directly, mostly indirectly. But energy expended to give will always reward.
What about in retail?
Surely here you’re not going to get every customer’s contact details and text them to wish them a happy birthday, or ask how their desk looks in their new home office, right? Well, with advances in technology, we actually can. We should.
If we think about retail (or any customer transaction) as a one-time thing, we’re missing the bigger picture. Wouldn’t you want regular retail customers who love coming into your store to see you or your team? Selling gets easier and so does buying. Profit improves. So does the experience.
And it’s more than just the person in front of you. It’s a very small world and the best opportunities come from people who know and trust us. They refer opportunities to us that come pre-sold. That’s gold. I’m not sure who said “If you can fake sincerity you’ve got it made” but I for one wouldn’t want to. There’s too much in it for me. It makes me present. It makes me want to be better.
I wish that for you too.