It’s all about connections, in business as in life. Your rapport with your clients and business partners greases the wheels of progress. Personal links, the emotional glue binding you with others, form the underlying ties and currents propelling you forward together. The better, more fluid and seamless the connections, the greater the basis for success.
It’s not just about number of contacts, although this helps. It’s about igniting that spark, finding that point where you really connect with your customer or business associate.
You know the experience. You’re talking with someone and suddenly, as if by magic, a channel opens. You resonate, share an experience or perspective. Suddenly you’re on the same wavelength, seeing things from the same point of view. A bond is formed. You feel the other person is someone I can relate to, someone like me.
In business as in life, this experience is golden. It generates trust. It makes a customer feel comfortable and confident. We all know the story of the salesperson making a small token sale, but gaining the trust of the customer, later closing a major purchase with them. Customer loyalty is a powerful force. A faithful customer will go out of his way to come back to your store again and again. Families loyal to a local jeweler will return generation after generation.
Real communication is a two-way street. It’s not about repeating a rote sales pitch or angle. You have to really listen. Ask questions. Be in the moment, alert, awake. Where is your customer or client coming from? What are their desires or dreams? What are their concerns? By listening to them, you can better gauge what moves them.
You may notice a customer forming an emotional connection with a ring or necklace. Tuning it, you see it touches her heart, excites her. Use this as an opportunity to connect, to open channels of communication, to develop rapport. Do you share with her a love for beautiful gems? When a customer lovingly shows you her grandmother’s ring, appreciating the old-world quality and workmanship, exchange your own favorite family keepsake story. Share your fashion savvy with the fashionista, craving cutting-edge style. Everyone seeks to be heard, appreciated, validated. Nourish their dreams.
It’s the same with your vendors. Cultivate your relationships. To be able to just pick up the phone or send a short e-mail, knowing you can count on your supplier, adds to the comfort level. Working with someone you can trust who knows just what you want and will do everything to get it for you is a win-win situation.
The current explosion of social networking sites is an expansion of the basic impulse to connect, fueled by new technology – faster-paced and broader. Facebook allows you to draw on your existing friendships to keep in touch regularly with an ever-widening circle of friends with one click. When you set up a Facebook page for your store, customers can become fans and get regular updates, enhancing the personal touch. Your e-mail newsletter blasts and website expand your territory of influence and nourish your already established connections.
The jewelry industry is a happy trade. It’s all about appreciating beauty, spreading joy and helping families celebrate. Reach out. Keep surrounding yourself with new relationships as you cultivate the more established ones. At the end of the day, it’s still the time-honored values of trust and integrity that make life meaningful.
As the saying goes, make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.
Mia Katrin is an award-winning, internationally celebrated couture jewelry designer specializing in high-end necklaces with precious gems in 18-22 karat gold as well as the new affordably priced Jewel Casual Collection. Her Collections, which have been worn by A-List