In the past few lesson’s we’ve discussed various ways we cause people to remember & recognize us by giving them what they they find valuable. But sometimes, all your efforts and energy can go to waste if a problems comes in an damages/kills your connection.
That’s what we’ll be talking about in the next few lessons: How to prevent long-term damage to your relationships.
Relationships are prone to damage. The usual culprits are time & sleep, both of which are connected.
Time & The Procrastination Effect
Time is like fire. As the saying goes: “You can use it to cook food or burn down your house.”
If a customer has a problem and you handle it promptly with grace & make them happy, you’ll probably have a customer for life. If a customer has a problem and you put off dealing with it for a week, you’ll have an unhappy customer who will tell 20 people about their regretful decision of doing business with you.
What’s worse is that as time passes, the gravity around problem seem to grow exponentially. If a company hasn’t responded to a problem within a couple weeks, the phone will seem awfully heavy to the people in the company. Chances are strong that they won’t respond to the customer with the problem and will hope that the problem goes away. The same happens with non-client relationships. If someone calls, and you don’t respond within a reasonable amount of time, you’ll mostly like not respond at all as more time passes on.
I call this the procrastination effect: More time delay between when a problem arises & when it is resolved = decreased likelihood of a positive outcome + decreased likelihood that the problem will ever be resolved.
We’ll look at how to not let the procrastination effect kill your valuable relationships in a minute, but first, let’s explore the second main culprit: Sleep!
Sleep, The Great Eraser
Sleep is often called the great eraser because it’s natures way of repairing our brain. In the process, it causes memories to fade, which is why you don’t remember everything that you learned in the 5th grade.
Here’s a scenario for you: You have a client or friend that you have a really good time working with or hanging out with. For some odd reason (maybe the project finished up or they moved out of town) you two stop talking for a few months or years. When you meet them again, you can feel that things are not the same anymore. Has this ever happened with you? What changed? The good memories of working together / having fun together are not as fresh as they used to be. The Great Eraser has dulled the vibrant memories of the past.
CALL TO ACTION
In today’s lesson, I want you to reflect on the relationships/clients you’ve lost in the last 2-3 years, how you might have caught problems early and how you might have fixed it once you realized that the relationship was in trouble.
These will help you implement the second major lesson Rod Weckworth taught me: “Make (client) your boss and show them they are very important to you.”
So go ahead, take out your notebook and write out your thoughts on the friends/clients you lost, how you might have caught problems early and how you might have fixed/prevent them.
Here’s a few ideas to seed your list of how to fix/prevent them:
- Solicit complaints regularly
- Show the changes you’ve made
- Setup systems to alert you to problems
- Automate tasks when appropriate
- Schedule time
We’ll discuss these and expand upon the above suggestions in the next lessons. Now start on your list of how to fix/prevent damage to your relationships.