Six Degrees of Success

If you think that the only relationships that really matter are the ones that you have with your clients, you may need to re-consider. According to Troy Hazard, if you truly want to show your clients the love, then mastering the ‘Six Degrees of Unity’ is your key to building and keeping successful relationships with your clients.

LAST MONTH I WAS being interviewed on a news talk radio station in the United States, and the show host asked me what I felt was the one thing that was going to drive small businesses out of the remains of the Global Financial Crisis faster. Now I am sure he was seeking something profound, but as always I’m the guy that keeps it simple, so I said, “For me, it’s one word: Relationships.”

Still seeking something that he could transcribe into a quote to last the centuries, he said, “So, do you mean relationship marketing, or networking, or something like that?” I said, “Not quite. I believe that all of those titles have become more of a list of empty tactical activities we feel we need to execute in order to believe we are building relationships with those we choose to serve. In fact, the typical actions we take relative to those activities are distancing us from the same people we seek to attract, as we are not authentic in our execution. I believe there are in fact six different relationships we need to work on if we are ultimately to build better relationships in business with our customers or clients. I call it my Six Degrees of Unity.”

He went on to ask if I felt that my theory applied to all business categories. My answer: “Absolutely!”

So, let me share with you some of the things I shared with 3,500 of my newest friends as I addressed the participants of a recent Coldwell Banker real estate conference in Las Vegas.

In a world of connectivity, why is it that we sometimes fail to really ‘connect’ as humans? We talk about the importance of building relationships, we all understand the feeling of being in a solid relationship and yet we fail to invest the time to really develop the important relationships.

In our personal lives we all enjoy the relationship that revolves around authenticity, honesty, openness, vulnerability, and respect. Yet in business we often treat the development of key relationships as a mechanical event, something that, while it has the label of ‘relationship,’ is merely a function of a business experience, a label for an activity, as opposed to an emotional bond with another person.

For years the term ‘relationship marketing’ has been a hip buzzword used by slick marketing executives with ponytails and goatee beards. Many of them use the term to describe how they build client relationships when in fact all they are doing is developing elaborate campaigns of consumer bribery: Buy ten of our (insert any product or service) and we’ll give you one free. Join our club and we’ll give you a discount. Accumulate enough points through purchases and we’ll give you something for ‘nothing’. Ain’t no relationship in that!

Now, in a world of faster, better, yesterday, social media has become the quasi ‘relationship’ hero of the day and has taken the mantle as the new way the world ‘connects’ and interacts.

Somewhere along the way we simply forgot how to truly connect as humans. And as part of that we’ve forgotten how to show our clients the love!

I believe that we need to create a personal strategy around the development of the true emotion of a relationship in business, and harness that to the true value of the technology which we have come to rely on so heavily.

Let me step you through what I believe to be the Six Degrees of Unity we need to master first if we are to have any chance of being able to develop a real relationship marketing strategy in business, let alone a meaningful social media strategy.

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