Editorial: Maintaining long-term relationships

Jan 01, 2013

This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310) Issue # 986
Originally published 12/10/2012

They are essential to this business. Mark Zweig offers five pointers.

Regardless of their value to your business, the ability to maintain long-term relationships may have a greater impact on your overall quality of life than anything else. So it’s worth considering how some people are able to do that when others seem to have problems with it.

Here are some observations:

1) Being trustworthy is crucial. If you can keep a secret and avoid ever violating someone else’s trust, you are likely to be able to have a long-term relationship with them. Violate this trust – even once – and you will screw that up.

2) Doing what you say. People who follow up on their promises don’t let those they made the promises to down. This, too, leads to the ability to sustain a long-term relationship. This is not to say you can’t have a long-term relationship as someone who doesn’t do what they say they will BUT the quality of that relationship will be worse.

3) Initiate the contact to stay in touch. Have you ever wondered how some relationships you have with others endured beyond what you ever would have predicted they would based on the person not being someone you would normally associate with? I’ll bet the reason is the other person always initiates the contact to keep it alive. They made it happen. You can do the same.

4) Give more than you take. Some people are just more likely than others to offer help and assistance to others. That makes them people you feel indebted to and want to stay in touch with. This really works in business, too. Be helpful. Volunteer. Offer a hand. People will appreciate it and want to keep in touch.

5) Make it easy. Be someone who answers your phone. Be someone who returns calls. Be the one who keeps everyone informed when you move or switch jobs. Make yourself visible, locatable, and accessible. This will help you sustain long-term relationships much more so over someone who won’t do those things!

There’s little in life more satisfying than pleasant interaction with those people you know and have known you for many years. Are you doing your part to facilitate these relationships – or not?

Mark Zweig is the chairman and CEO of ZweigWhite. Contact him with questions or comments at mzweig@zweigwhite.com.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.