A friend I respect was recently saying that "loyalty is dead" in the business world. He lamented about how the rough economic times were creating situations where all bets are off in regards to relationships. Selfishness and short-sightedness were what he thought had taken over. He was clearly disappointed in the actions of a price sensitive customer who jumped ship on a long standing professional relationship and hired his competitor who had lower fees.
I disagree. Loyalty is NOT dead. It is alive and well everywhere that real relationships exist. The problem is that in our society we have let the importance of true friendships be replaced by superficial links masquerading as deep connections.
These days everyone is crazy busy. We are bombarded with information, options and noise. This can create frustration, confusion and doubt. Those who get lost in this whirlwind can easily get distracted from the importance and power of business relationships. When both vendors and customers lose sight of this, alas the image appears to some that loyalty is six feet under.
Now more than ever you need to focus on your business relationships. The economic downturn and uncertainty have created instability for everyone in their professional and personal lives. I have spoken with several people who are scared of being laid off - even when their companies are doing well and they have no reason to harbor such fears. When these types of emotions take hold of people, they have a tendency to go heads down. The retreat from their networking.
NO, NO, NO.
These are the times to put your head up and reach out to clients, prospects, vendors, employees, employers, friends, past customers, neighbors, and anyone with a pulse. We need each other to succeed. If we hide from the world and hope for the best we are destined to be past over and forgotten.
True relationships make the difference for your business. A "true relationships" means that all parties are committed to being of assistance to others. The bad news is that in rough times some people get very concerned about their own needs. This means they look at their contacts as if they have pork chops around their necks...and they themselves are hungry wolves. They desire to devour the other person to get, get, get, take, take, take. They do not first think about what they can give. When everyone is a hungry wolf, you end up with a bunch of growling.
Bad times in the economy come and go.... do not let this bump in the road cause you to ignore, or worse, damage your relationships. Pay attention to the other people in your circle of influence and see how you can be the catalyst that helps them achieve their goals. Take a minute to look up from your own concerns and look for how to boost others up a notch. You will be plesantly surprised at how fast someone will do the same for you.
If you get too concerned about only your issues, you will disappear from their radar. Then you will be alone. And that is when your real problems will begin.
Have A Great Day