As a real estate agent and a mom, I know how it feels to have one hand pulled by a toddler toward a book, and the other hand holding a ringing phone, flashing with the name of a client you can’t afford to disappoint.
On both sides, relationships are crucial, for your happiness and the true definition of success.
With our families and friends, we need relationships for a sense of belonging, purpose, and fulfillment. One of the most common regrets of people in the last stage of life is that they lost touch with their friends. Community is a cornerstone of longevity and joy. Multiple studies have shown that children who get quality time with their parents are healthier, physically and psychologically.
In our work as well, relationships reign. According to a report by LinkedIn, almost 9 out of every 10 buyers “prefer working with sales professionals they perceive as trusted advisors.” Trust doesn’t come without a relationship first. The top trait buyers value in sales people is active listening. You can only listen actively if you’re conscious of building a relationship. See how it all fits together?
Exactly because relationships are made of time and focus, both personally and professionally, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room. Trying to make everyone happy all the time will only lead to scattered attention.
So how do you balance it all? Here are the methods that finally got me to a place of connection, both at home and in the office.
Schedule Quality Time with Loved Ones
Just as we schedule appointments and meetings for work, we need to schedule time with our partners, children, and friends. This might mean setting aside a regular date night with your spouse, planning a craft or board game with your kids on the weekend, or scheduling a dinner with your friends once a month. Relationships are made of time and focus. Putting them on the calendar gives you both.
Don’t Just Set, Communicate Boundaries
The key to making both your clients and your kiddos and spouse happy is to let them know ahead of time when they can expect to get your attention. My clients know that I am there for them 100% — when I’m at work. My kids can expect my full attention — during our quality time.
If disappointment is expectations minus reality, it’s essential to paint the picture for others of what they can expect from you.
Practice Active Listening
“Uh-huh, uh-huh,” tap tap tap. Why do we ever think we’re fooling anyone with this? If you’re only half-listening to someone, you give them the message that they’re only worth half your attention, which is not exactly a relationship-building message. Look at people when you’re listening to them, whether your four-year-old or a four-million-dollar homeowner. Ask them open-ended questions that invite them to expand on what they’re talking about. Repeat back what you heard and empathize with it, either the excitement of finding a ladybug or a frustration about the cost of staging.
Commit to Give More than You Get
There’s nothing more transparent than a tit-for-tat relationship. No one wants to feel like they’re on the other side of a scale, and you’re watching the needle. Commit to generosity, both at home and with your clients. This does not mean being a doormat. It means approaching people with grace, giving them the benefit of the doubt, and committing to helping them whenever you see there is a need.
I’m a huge believer that what you put out in the world comes back to you. You don’t have to tie a string to it and keep track. It may not even be from the same person. Just let people see the big-hearted person you are, and they’ll feel safe and comfortable with you — huge steps in building a meaningful and lasting relationship.
Success in life is not only measured in money, though I like that too! It’s measured in the amount of satisfaction you get out of your experience. You deserve to not only have a thriving business, but a thriving family and social life as well.
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