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Relational vs. Transactional

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Years ago, Sanjay and I would network a lot. We had just started J2 and we rarely turned down a chance to meet people. Our goal was to meet as many folks as possible no matter what they did and gain the opportunity to learn about them and share about us.

Several of those meetings turned into lead share meetings, where we would get together once a month and share what we had learned about the marketplace or about certain clients and who may be a good introduction for others in the group. For the most part, these get togethers were beneficial.

One time, I remember getting an introduction from a member of the group. While the introduction went nowhere(no return email, no return phone call, nothing), I was still appreciative. A few weeks later I got a call from the person that made the introduction. She asked me for a referral because, according to her, I owed her one. I was shocked. This method is not how Sanjay and I networked and it never has been, even in the early days when we were getting the company off the ground. Clearly this person and I had  different ideas on networking. Her ideas were very transactional, and while there is nothing wrong with that, in my opinion it’s short-term and limiting.

At J2 we preach the power of building relationships, it is one of our pillars. Relationships have helped us grow and succeed. Recently, we had several past clients call us to assist on certain projects. While we hadn’t worked with them in a couple years we stayed in touch, choosing to focus on developing the relationship rather than pushing to sell them anything, and when the right opportunity presented itself they gave us a call.

Transactional relationships are short term, they are about the deal signed and closed and there is no loyalty. Relational relationships are about building trust and that takes time, they are long term and mutually beneficial.

They both have their place and what we have learned is that we are better at the relational vs the transactional. Almost every time we do something transactional it does not last long. To me the biggest difference between the two is that in a transactional relationship the question is “what can I get” vs in a relational relationship its “what can I give”.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”- Winston Churchill

Have a great weekend