Engaging with our clients, prospects and team members is an all-important skill that many of us would like to enhance. When we create a sense of community by surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, we feel that we are living life to the fullest -- and we make the people around us feel that way, too.
The end result is a network of people ready, willing and able to support each other to achieve great things in business and in life.
Jon Vroman is an expert at creating these types of deep and meaningful relationships. An entrepreneur and award-winning motivational speaker, he's perhaps best known as the founder of the Front Row Foundation, which gives individuals and families facing severe health issues front row seats at the live event of their choice.
He recently shared his four top strategies for creating authentic connections that drive our businesses and our personal lives to new heights.
1. Start with the heart, not with the head. To connect with clients and prospects, stop talking so much about the numbers and data and the facts -- and start focusing on connecting emotionally. That might sound a bit soft to the left-brain types out there, but Vroman says that more and more we're seeing that forging emotional connections at the start of a relationship builds trust faster and deepens long-term client loyalty. Indeed, our research at CEG tells us that 84 percent of affluent investors seek to connect with their financial advisors emotionally.
The best way to do that is to tell your personal story -- communicating the moment (or moments) in your life that prompted you to do what you do and the reasons you are so passionate about helping your clients. A compelling personal story will help build a bridge between you and a prospect fast and start gently nudging them to take action with you.
The good news: We all have great stories even if we think our lives are plain vanilla. "If you don't know the compelling story of your life and business, ask the people in your inner circle," recommends Vroman. "Often they see your story better than you do."
2. Focus on personal growth. Massive professional success is usually driven by massive personal development. Vroman emphasizes the need to challenge assumptions we have about ourselves and our ability to grow into something new and better -- both as people and as entrepreneurs. Just because you've been one thing for years doesn't mean that's your only path. "All entrepreneurs need to reinvent themselves and their companies every so often. Decide what your core elements and values are that need to stay put and never go away. Then the rest of it is open game," he says. "That's what gets really exciting, and that's what really takes it to the next level."
3. Build a great "front row" of raving fans. You want great people surrounding you in all aspects of your life. These will be the people who make up what Vroman calls your front row -- your biggest, most raving fans who will support you in all you do. To build that roster, start by listing the most important people and relationships in each major category of your life -- including health, business, social, religious and so on. Are you devoting enough time and energy to these key people as you should, or do you let these relationships slide?
Another exercise for building a great front row of people around you is to ask yourself: Whose front row am I in? "Look at your network and your friends and see who are you important to. Then ask yourself how you are doing at serving them, helping them and rooting them on," says Vroman. "Are you being a great front row fan and adding energy to their lives?"
4. Be a moment maker. What moments or experiences are you creating for your front row of customers or team members that they will remember and take with them? If you bring tremendous value to them, you will be more successful and happier as a person. For customers, it comes to down to delivering a world-class service experience. For your team, it could be as simple as getting everyone around a table and having everyone say one nice thing about everyone there. "If you can adopt the identity that you're someone who creates big moments of importance, you're going to be important to people," says Vroman.
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