A good friend of mine who is also a 40-year veteran of the construction industry has taught me a lot about relationships over the past few years. He has been a tireless advocate of relationships his entire life, spending countless hours working, molding, and shaping both his personal and professional contacts.
I have to admit, I admire the amount of time and effort he puts into his relationships, and it’s paid off tremendously.
Often times I’ve walked with him on a jobsite, a tradeshow floor, or visiting a contractor’s office, and everyone knows him.
I asked him his secret once and his advice was simple: “Take the time to get to know people, whether it is a CEO or a laborer. Spend a few moments with them each day if you can—or maybe it’s a phone call or email once a week—and you will learn a lot about them, and eventually even more about yourself.”
His comments mirror advice given by Ralph Cataldo, President and CEO, Cataldo Custom Builders in this month’s Remodeler’s Exchange.
Cataldo offered this antidote when asked about maintaining clients for life: “Once you get a real relationship going, you have to take advantage of every opportunity you can to proactively communicate on a consistent basis without overdoing it.”
Heading into the Remodeling Show in Baltimore last month, I was anxious to start many new relationships with Professional Remodeler readers, manufacturers, and other professionals in our industry.
Aside from time on the show floor, there were plenty of networking opportunities, including our Leadership Awards event held at the Center Club, the panel discussion we hosted between leading remodelers and industry manufacturers, and the NAHB Remodelers’ gala at the Maryland Science Center, to name a select few.
Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed. Many of you introduced yourselves as “long-time readers of Professional Remodeler.” We exchanged story ideas, swapped business cards, and promised further communication. The foundation for the relationship has been built, and now comes the formidable task of maintenance, which is where I refer to the advice offered earlier.
Often, we are far too busy at work for our own good. It can be tempting to skip the client meeting, not return a phone call, or even delete a batch of emails. But we know that’s not fair to the person at the other end. As you can deduce from the advice offered by industry veterans, there is always an opportunity to advance a relationship.
I’ve recently started blocking off a specific amount of time each day, time that is now dedicated solely to evolving my new and old relationships. I am not talking about catching up on emails; this time is specifically for phone calls. The time I’ve blocked off is only a small portion of my day, but the return on this time investment is quickly becoming immeasurable. Most recently, I spent time on the phone with a few Professional Remodeler readers. The passion they exhibit for the remodeling industry is admirable, and that passion trickles down to the relationship they have with Professional Remodeler. Moving forward, I only see the relationship with you getting stronger. PR