If you’ve ever uttered the words, “This business is all about relationships,” then you’re in good company; we’d be hard pressed to find an advisor we’ve worked with who hasn’t said the same. 20 years of talking with advisors has had that single thread running through almost every conversation: relationship. The result is that we’ve honed a Relationship Expertise that we want to share.

With that in mind, have you paused to consider that, if relationships really are the key to it all, what your strategy is to creating great ones? Do you have a framework for them? Do you apply a process to it?

Now you may think, “You shouldn’t put a process or system to a relationship, it’ll make it fake!” But the reality is that by not having a sound approach to relationships, you may be more likely to be less genuine. Let’s look at this more closely.

We have a simple and powerful belief at Legacy: If you alter the relationship, you alter the results. That can be positive or negative, but it will happen.  The relationship is the container in which everything happens between you and the prospect or client. The size, quality, tone and feel of that container will influence each transaction, interaction and exchange.

We have another belief that, if you have had any measure of success as an advisor, you already are good at creating connections, nurturing relationships, and contributing to a meaningful exchange. What we also know is that, when you can be more aware of what’s happening in a relationship, and more intentional about how you respond to it, a much more powerful relationship can evolve.

One of the ways to do that is to think of a relationship as its own person, its own entity.  For example, we’ve likely all witnessed marriages where both spouses are wonderful, but the relationship is a wreck. Or the opposite, where we see a couple who might be cantankerous and tough to deal with, but together, they have a great relationship. There are people in a relationship, but the relationship is its own party.

With that notion in mind, if you step back from your interests in a situation and ask, based on what’s going on here, what would the relationship want? What’s trying to happen? Surprisingly, you may find a slightly different perspective that gives you new information on what to do next, how to respond/not respond, where to go next.

Now this one approach won’t necessarily alter the quality of all your relationships (although it might), but we share it to illustrate that there is a lot more going on in a relationship than we typically give credit for, and that there are specific things you can do to generate a powerful, genuine and authentic relationship more easily.

Here’s the catch…

Not all relationships exist to deliver business to you. The right relationship may be a transaction, it may be deep intergenerational planning, it may be nurturing a connection for the future, and it may be nothing – just a transient connection.

Regardless of what it may be, the faster you can identify and respect it, the better your business will be, and the richer your relationships with clients can be.  You see, one of the deep frustrations, time-wasting experiences, and distraction that you can have in your business is believing a relationships is leading one direction, when it’s going another. When you’re treating a transient connection as an intergenerational planning opportunity, you’re going to be annoyed. It’s likely not going to happen, you’re likely frustrating other parties, people you could be helping aren’t being helped, and you’re probably becoming fatigued.

The key is to have the right relationship, every time.

There’s a mountain of content to cover here, far more than this post can handle, but consider this: if you have the right relationship with every party you meet, you can feel assured that you’re being genuine, relevant, compelling, more efficient and absolutely more productive and profitable, every time. That’s a better business.