Focus on The Relationship, Not Just The Transaction

Sometimes we can treat people and opportunities like a transaction can’t we?

Like we’re walking up to the counter, placing our order then we’re done. We get what we want and then we walk away.

We might not intend to do it. Perhaps we’re just busy and trying to check another box off the To-Do list. Or maybe we just forget to be intentional about the opportunities and interactions we’ve been presented.

Has it ever happened to you?

The problem with being transaction focused is that it’s usually a shallow level of interaction. Use, get used, rinse and repeat. No real bond develops beyond the need for the exchange.

If you’re simply selling a widget of some kind and doing it like a factory, the transaction model may work for you. But, if you’re like most of us… you need something more. You need the power of relationships.

Relationships take things to another level. They create engagement, action, movement and the ability to build trust, loyalty and commitment.

Take social media for example…

Your goal might be to get 20,000 followers on Twitter or Facebook. And that may be a fine goal but what will you do with those followers? How will you engage them after the “LIKE” or “Follow”? If you are simply thinking about getting them and not about growing or interacting with them then you are thinking in a transactional way and not in a relational way.

Transactional Thinking is in a way that says “What Can I Get?” while Relational Thinking is more about “What Can I Give?”

Seriously, having 20,000 followers may looks nice on the outside but it’s a pure waste unless those 20,000 are engaged in some way and you have a plan for building relationships with as many as you can (by adding value to them, not just expecting them to DO for you).

Or take your co-workers as another example…

Are you a task master? Do you treat people good when you need something from them but then ignore them when you don’t? Be honest with yourself because everyone around you already knows the answer. Relationships are two way and have a foundation build on mutual respect. You need to pour into them and build them up, not just expect them to do your bidding (even if doing your bidding is their job). Stop for a minute and ask others what you can do for them. Be genuine and care about who they are, not just what they can do to benefit you.

Or take a real transaction (as in a sale) for example…

A lot of companies that sell a product understand the value of customer services but normally their definition of customer services is a reactive one. It’s responding to a customer when the customer has a need. In my opinion that is still a transactional way of thinking. Instead, think relationally. What can you do proactively to go beyond the sale? How can you add value proactively after the transaction? Notice I used the word “proactively” twice? It’s because being proactive takes initiative. If you say you care and you are trying to show it then you have to put the words into action. Think about how relationships involve love. Love is best as a verb.

The primary point is this… don’t use people or opportunities for your own instant gratification or short-term gain. Be long-term focused. Invest in others. Lead by showing that you care and they will care in return.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Too frequently the present distress (or desire) overrides otherwise reasonable expectations. We want revenue now. We want more Twitter followers today. We need more Linkedin connections by this afternoon. It's a bit like going out on a first date and asking her to marry you, and while we're at it, let's start a family. Whatever happened to the word nurture? Relationships need that, even in this age of speed.

  • Brilliant post, Daniel! This is absolutely what organizations need to do more often – focus on the people. Businesses get customers (or fans/followers) in the door, then they turn around and focus on where to get the next one – leaving their existing customers to wonder what happened. Looking at the long-term is so important. That is why I always say that social media is not a campaign, it's a relationship.

    Great job!

  • Absolutely true!
    People and relationships are often overlooked because most it requires you to invest time and put in that little bit extra. Most people underestimate the value of building relationships and think that instead of using that time to 'build relationships', they can use it towards more profitable pursuits. But a little time and effort invested in relationships can go a long way. Engaging your clients, customers or employees builds a sense of loyalty and belonging which can prove to be invaluable in today's competitive world.
    Thanks for bringing this to our notice!
    – Sindoora (