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The Critical Path of Relationships: Preparing for the Relationship

By Star Report 6 min read

By David Pierce, Sales Director - New Home Star 

All of us have heard the statement, "It's not what you know; it's who you know." Very little, excessively, overused, one-liners are so true, yet so very false.



You will never experience greatness in your life without working hard to be the best at what you do. You must wake every morning, look in the mirror and ask yourself, "How am I going to be better today than I was yesterday?"


However, all the talent in the world will get you nowhere without building fundamentally strong relationships. Relationships help you build worth in life, share strengths, and collaborate good ideas to make them great.



"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." - Zig Ziglar



With any fast-growing organization, many opportunities for professional growth will come to those who truly want it. Many opportunities require relocation or transfer to a new team or new client.  This transition is sometimes, typically always, a stressful endeavor.



You must make a great first impression while figuring out the difference makers and negative influencers affecting the organization.  You also need to access what relationships will give you the largest return on investment.  Most of this anxiety derives from knowing relationships need building, while simultaneously learning roles and responsibilities of your new position to immediately produce results.   


So how do you do it? How do you do all that is required in a very short, precise timeline? All the while, quickly going from stranger to a valuable cog in the group?  One of the first rules a very great mentor once taught me was so simple; yet so effective. Buy yourself a journal!  Not a notepad, not a binder, but a journal.



The purpose of this journal is not only to write down notes on training sessions, or a notepad for a to do list.  It's a vital tool for you to chronicle what you did in your life and what you require to be better tomorrow. Who did you interact with, and how did that interaction go? How would you have done it differently if you could do it over again? What went right today? How does today lead to tomorrow's interactions?  What did you learn today?  Your journal helps you organize thoughts, reflect on the day and appreciate accomplishments.



Buying in and really using a journal will drastically and effectively increase not only your productivity, but your ability to build relationships. At New Home Star we have a dedicated sales process. This training entails how to build relationships with customers and take them down a favorable thought process.  The Critical Path can be employed in more than just new home sales.  Our training can be molded into a way to build relationships with the people you interact with.  This time, you aren't selling a home, you are selling yourself. The Critical Path of Relationships takes time and investment.


But how does that look on day one?  How do you prepare for building relationships?


"Seek first to understand, then to be understood." - Stephen Covey

Start by dedicating a minimum of two pages in your journal to interviewing each person in your organization. Start with those that you will primarily interact with, then work outward from there.  Use these dedicated pages to seek individual understanding and appreciation.  



Start with the fundamentals:

-    Name/birth date

-    Wife/husband name/birth date

-    Kids name/birth date

-    Pets name/Age/type/breed



Work-life basics:

-    How long have they been in the organization?

-    Tenure in position?

-    Anniversary date?

-    Why/how did they decide on this career field?

-    Did they go to school for it?

-    Where did they go to school?



Personal life basics:

-    How long have they lived in your city/state?

-    Where did they live before?

-    What does their wife/husband do for a living?

-    What are their kids do?

-    If they're in school what activities do they love?



After discovering the basics, dive into the details…hobbies, family activities, favorite vacation spots, etc.  Seek to understand what truly makes them who they are…what makes them tick!



Through casual conversations, recognize their personality traits, driving forces for work, goals and ambitions. What are their strengths and weaknesses at work and in their personality?



Make a miscellaneous section for odd items.  For example, if they have a nut allergy, or are deathly afraid of cymbal clapping circus monkey toys.  The last thing you want to do is give them a gift or do something that says, "Hey, I know nothing about you."



"Personally, I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn't think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn't bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: "Wouldn't you like to have that?"


"Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?" - Dale Carnegie



Throughout this process, in your journal, highlight common interest items you share.  What personal subject can you discuss during your interaction to show care about the individual?  What can you do during every contact to grow that relationship?



Write it all down! This is very important!  Getting to know a couple of people is usually easy.  When you are attempting to build a relationship from scratch with 10 to 40+ people, keeping all your interactions organized in your head never works. Family names will be forgotten, likes and dislikes get unintentionally assigned to the wrong person, and details of all interactions in your busy life may be forgotten.



Seek to understand those around you, and they will quickly accept you.  Care and love for them, and they will rally in your corner forever. Individually, we are all imperfect, but together, we can build a perfect team.  The only way we create the best sales team in the world is through building the strongest relationships.  Through those relationships…through combined strengths, there is nothing we cannot achieve.



"Sometimes words are not enough to make someone feel that you care for them.  Sometimes it requires a little effort." - Unknown 






David Pierce is a Sales Director for New Home Star in Colorado Springs, Colorado. An energetic and self-motivated team player/builder, David has a proven track record of increasing revenues, streamlining workflow and creating a team/family environment to increase productivity. An innovative professional with 14 years of progressive management sales expertise, David continuously shows expertise in multi-market environments.       



Originally published Jun 3, 2015 under Explore the latest topics, updated March 15, 2024

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