From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Maintaining Inner Circle Relationships

In the last lesson, you learned how to lead your inner circle toward mutual objectives. Those powerful strategies can help you accomplish most anything. What results did you achieve implementing that lesson?

Today's issue will you'll see two forms of delegation that help you do more with the relationships you have, grow your market share, and create more committed accounts. Maintaining your inner circle relationships will help you strengthen business relationships in a profitable way.

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Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

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Maintenance for Your Most Powerful Relationships

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Inner circle relationships can be extremely powerful, but like any resource, you must know how to maintain these connections for maximum effectiveness. If you do not consciously improve the value of relationships around you, they will often pass by without benefit to anyone. One method of maintaining your most powerful relationships is through delegation.

Regularly refine the quality of your inner circle by delegating non-critical relationships. Just as you cannot be all things to all people, the individuals in your network will not always advance your objective or provide the resources you need to grow. In addition, you cannot expect these people to have a need for what you offer. Learn to shift your relationships so that you place emphasis on the areas that need them most, bringing people in and out of your inner circle as it extends the groups mutual gain.

Relationship delegation helps you focus on your most powerful connection while saving you time. By delegating non-critical relationships, you help others get what they want from someone who will also benefit (or is more qualified to support them.) Relationship delegation works by completing passing along an individual's request, or by a proxy relationship.

Maintaining business relationships is different from maintaining personal relationships because people who interact with your business expect that roles change over time. When the company is small, they may enjoy the personal attention, but understand when you add staff that executives might not be available to service their accounts. Personal relationships are not as interchangeable; you can hire someone to watch your children, but cannot replace your responsibilities as a parent.

As an executive, you will use delegation to replace yourself with customer-oriented individuals while you focus more on management issues. These clients still have value, but now are managed by someone who can better serve their needs. Their account representatives become a proxy to that relationship; you now work through one individual who extends your network.

Examples of delegating relationships to solve specific problems:

Case Study #1: Small Growing Professional Business

Case Study #2: Focusing Your Time and Efforts

As the needs of relationships will change over time, it is your responsibility to reevaluate them regularly to be sure you are providing the right solution. You cannot keep doing what you have always done and expect to receive different results. Maintaining relationships is about monitoring change to give or take when it is best for everyone involved.

Sometimes you already have a relationship with one individual, but you want to grow beyond that individual to others in their network. Use reverse delegation increase the number of first-degree relationships in your network. Do this when you want to increase your customer base or want to access other resources necessary to reach your business objectives.

The following cases demonstrate reverse delegation:

Case #3: Securing a Whole Client Commitment

Case #4: Turning Existing Clients into More Clients

By maintaining the relationships you already have, you are extending your reach into networks based on credibility measures through your closest contacts. Extend your network one connection at a time on the successes you gain with others already experiencing what you offer. Entirely too complex to map in this article, the key point is that you must properly maintain inner circle relationships, moving individuals in and out of strata as it fits mutual benefits.

You are increasing the value of your group while focusing it on your particular objectives. It is not that you stop communicating with a long time relationship, but help them move along to someone who can better serve their needs or reorganizing your network to free up time for more important tasks.

There are three ways to look at this:

If someone is not right for your inner circle, do them a favor and move them along to someone who can better support their needs. Continue these relationships at a different degree; it is not that they have lesser value, but that you serve them by a different means. Maintaining business relationships is about producing mutual benefit and the long-term probability of reaching mutual objectives even with limited resources.

© 2004 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.
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For a comprehensive checklist that helps you create powerful inner circle relationships. Includes points you must address in building, selecting, and earning the support of inner circle members. Order Inner Circle Relationships Checklist today, delivered by email

Justin Hitt gives executives tools they can use to increase profits using relationship building strategies. For real results in your business, call +1 (877) 207-3798 for a complementary 15-minute consultation.

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