“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Have you ever been in a meeting and heard someone say, “I’m not here to make friends.” If you have, how did that make you feel? Probably not very comfortable, right? To be clear, workplace friends are not friends in the sense that you plan sleepovers to braid each other’s hair. These friendships are a result of working harmoniously together to reach the same end goal, which might include few laughs along the way. As an Account Executive, it’s extremely important to build friendships with those you work with on your accounts, and it’s equally, if not more important, to build a friendship with your clients.
A recent study by LinkedIn shows that 46% of professionals worldwide believe that friends at work are important to their overall happiness. We spend the majority of our adult lives at work, so why shouldn’t it be made better by feeling like you are spending time with friends, too? Employees who feel more connected, engaged, and happy at work drive greater results, and facilitating this has become a top priority, especially at Zion & Zion.
Zion & Zion prides itself on putting employee satisfaction at the top of the totem pole. We have an Office Fun Committee. Yes, you heard that right, a group of us are in charge of making sure we have fun with each other, for the exact reason mentioned above! Plus, we truly enjoy treating our clients to happy hours, birthday gifts, and more, to make sure they know how valuable they are to us.
As a member of the Account Services team, you have the power to build great relationships with both your internal teams and clients. When you have both, it can ultimately drive valuable outcomes for your company.
Below are a few key benefits gained from building great relationships.
3 Benefits of Building Relationships with Your Team
Improves Team Creativity
Working at a creative agency means collaboration sessions are held on a regular basis. Sure, you can come up with some good ideas on your own, but it’s not until you get in a room with several great minds that build off of and challenge each other that the golden ideas are really developed. When you look forward to being around the people in that meeting, you are more inclined to let your creative juices flow and not hold back any “silly” ideas (that could lead to something brilliant) because you are in a positive and light-hearted environment. I think most of us can agree, we feel more open to sharing our thoughts in an environment where we are comfortable with the people in the room versus in a room with those who we don’t know too well or aren’t comfortable with.
Improves Team Synergy
When you treat your team as you would your friends, the overall synergy of the team works better. Communicating respectfully with your friends doesn’t take extra effort. You can translate this to your work environment by sincerely acknowledging a job well done, or if you need to break bad news, start with the positive first. By showing this respect, it encourages the team to maintain productivity so you are in sync and working efficiently together to reach your end goal.
Improves Team Loyalty
As an Account Executive, you have the capability to ensure people feel like valued members of the team. Since you are the one employees from different departments can go to with questions or concerns, you’re responsible for pulling the team together to get on the same page. You can see the bigger picture and make sure each person is heard. When people feel they are heard, they feel valued which, in turn, can lead to their loyalty to the project. If someone feels disregarded, that doesn’t give them any motivation to do great work, which ultimately hurts everyone. If your friends didn’t value your time or opinions, would you feel they are dependable friends you should keep? Absolutely not.
3 Benefits of Building Relationships with Your Clients
Helps You Stay Top of Mind
When you are building your relationships with your clients, it’s important to maintain exceptional communication with them. When you keep the line of communication open, it keeps you at the top of their mind since they know they can rely on your response. Plus, it demonstrates that their time and satisfaction are important to you. When thinking of which friend you should reach out to for a dinner, would you first think of someone you hardly hear from, or someone you talk to regularly?
They Consult You on New Opportunities
One of the best testaments of trust you can get from a client is when another company approaches them about an opportunity, and your client consults you for your opinion on it or gives you the opportunity to take on the work. This can show the relationship is in good standing and they know you have their best interest in mind. Think of it this way, would you rather schedule a trip with a long-time friend or a stranger you just met? I think most of us would choose long-time friend since we know what to expect and can trust them.
They Feel Like an Individual, Not a Commodity
Part of making sure your client feels valued is remembering to treat them as human and not a means to an end. When you regularly ask clients about their kids, the latest news on their sports team, or a new song from their favorite artist, they know talking with you is enjoyable because it’s not always strictly work-related. There’s nothing worse than a forced interaction with someone you don’t enjoy talking to, so when you can sprinkle in personal topics in work meetings, it shows you pay attention to things they care about and makes the time more enjoyable for everyone.
So What’s the Verdict?
In today’s workplace culture, companies are finally realizing the importance of employee happiness and its effect on their clients. We take that seriously at Zion & Zion. When you treat your colleagues with as much respect as you would your friends, it improves overall team creativity, synergy, and loyalty. Once you have that, it translates to your clients being treated well, which keeps them coming to you for more since they know you are reliable, trustworthy, and a pleasure to work with.
The positives of conducting your working relationships as if they are friendships shouldn’t go unnoticed. Turns out, we should be here to make friends after all.