An excellent measure of long-term success is how much your customers like you.  Thus, building relationships are a critical part of your job.  You may have the skills to be able to stay busy without the “personal touch.”  However, life will be simpler when you create some advocates along the way.

Building Relationships Organically

Your primary focus should be solving problems.  When you do this, it is hard for people to not be positively biased towards you.  We have a hard time disliking those that remove our pain points.  On the other hand, a doctor with a bad bedside manner may end up being an alternative decision rather than a primary physician.  The good news is that your normal schedule will include a lot of opportunities for building relationships.

Meetings are a perfect example.  That “dead” time at the beginning of meetings, while you are waiting for everyone to join, is great for small talk.  You can ask about recent events or even play it safe and talk about industry news.  When you show yourself to be approachable it will make it easy for others to be affable.  These sort of little connections can help you build a relationship over time.

Get To Know Your Customer

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The process of gathering requirements can be a way to learn how your customer ticks.  The design phase and related feedback will be even more so.  These tasks include a lot of discussion with your customers that is centered around their likes and desires.  This information is an excellent foundation for building bridges.  I am often surprised at the ways a design decision teaches me about the people around the table.  Simple things like color choices may lead to discussions of alma maters or favorite sports teams.

Regular Contact

Any marketing book or tutorial will bring up the idea of staying on the mind of a customer.  That is why a brand is so important.  You can build a brand and stay current with customers by sending them regular (useful) content.  For example, a monthly newsletter is a common way to “touch” customers and try to stay in front of people’s minds.

Relationships are critical to sales and growth.  Take advantage of “quality time” with your customers to build a rapport early and often.

Learn more in the book written for Develpreneurs at any stage in their progress:  https://www.amazon.com/Source-Code-Happiness-Finding-Success-ebook/dp/B07MKZBF6R

 

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a longtime student of technology as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is a founder and principle of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences.In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although a few have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax.

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