“Dry January” – never

There is a lot of talk about your relationship with alcohol at this time of year so I’m going to let you into a secret……

Of the relationship I have with alcohol and how it relates to our clients… This will come as no surprise to some…

I won’t be having a dry January, and here at Noggin we are proud to say we have a “relationship” with alcohol all year round.

That’s because I was advised to categorise the people on our database, our contacts and clients, into groups – depending on the type of relationship we have with them. In a very systematic way I was instructed to think of frequency of contact – prospect, occasional, frequent, advocate…

How dull.

We now have 3 categories.

Gin, Wine and Coffee.

Coffee are the people we know a little bit. Those who may have heard of us or had some contact with us. Perhaps a delegate on a workshop or someone referred to us by an existing client, ‘coffee’ might not know enough about us yet or have enough experience of what we do to be confident in our ability.

Wine are clients or contacts who have done work with us and whose relationship we would describe as established. We have got to know each other well, they value what we offer and trust our competence enough to debrief or catch up over a glass of wine as opposed to just a conference call or buyer/supplier process.

Gin are clients who have become friends. We connect with them at a level where we can talk about deeper personal stuff. These clients don’t really feel like clients – they are real friends or allies we can share our hopes, fears and excitement with and them with us – and might occasionally roll out of an establishment late at night….

As with any relationship – not everyone becomes your friend, but surely it’s a worthy aspiration to keep deepening the relationships you have with people – clients or otherwise.

And as you know, connected relationships take time and effort. They come from leaving people feeling Valued, Capable and Likeable….

  • First they have to value the relationship as significant – recognising the relevance of being in contact with you.
  • Second they have to feel the way you behave leaves them capable of handling their side of things – they are confident in your ability to deliver for them.
  • Finally, and with these first two desires met, they are more likely to feel comfortable and connected in your presence – they are happy to be totally open with you.

Will Schutz – one of our heroes of personal development whose approach underpins a lot of what we do – when asked at the end of his career what he was most proud, he said “I don’t know really, but my work seems to have created a lot of people with whom it’s great to be around……”


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