Young Romeo and Juliet sure got off to a rough start with the whole family feud thing, but luckily they turned the situation around with their honesty and trust and lived happily every after.
Only it didn’t quite happen that way. They did build a relationship on a rocky platform of passion, but it ended for the same reason many real life relationships end (hint: not because of a family feud).
Honesty, trust, yes they are part of a great relationship, but they are results. In order to reach high levels of trust, and in order to build a relationship on honesty, something else comes first.
Let’s not forget the story was a tragedy. They both died, and technically it wasn’t from the fighting or feuding either. The real cause of the double suicide?
A massive error in communication.
(In case you forgot the details… Juliet planned–on her own with poor communication–to stage her death with fake poison and later run away with Romeo. Young Romeo missed the message about Juliet’s false death. Thinking she was gone and out of pure heartbreak, he committed suicide. Then when Juliet awoke and found Romeo dead, she also ended it… like I said, massive communication error…)
Communication Is The (Often Ignored) Cornerstone of Success
I feel like people’s eyes glaze over when you remind them that good communication can solve a myriad of problems.
I feel the exact same way, which made me hesitate to even write this article. It almost feels like great communication should be a given, yet individuals, teams and businesses still miss the mark all the time when it comes to getting it right.
So how important is communication?
Okay we’re not likely going to die from a communication blunder. But as individuals and agencies, our lives / businesses can be hugely impacted by how well we communicate.
At the individual level, one infographic claimed that Harvard Business Review subscribers chose the ability to communicate as 'the most important fact in making an executive promotable.'
A 2015 Pew Research Center survey of American adults revealed that communication was believed to be the most important skill for children to get ahead in the world today.
And Salesforce, a customer relationship management platform and master of sales and relationships, last year wrote a very convincing article on how communication skills trump intelligence.
On the agency level, The Bedford Group points out that clients end agency relationships for a host of reasons and at an increasingly often rate, but 'most of the time, these issues might have been resolved if they were acknowledged and addressed earlier.'
The 2016 SoDA report on digital marketing revealed the same thing, 'Miscommunication is usually a root cause of any bad relationship — even at the end. And it’s no different with clients and agencies…… when agencies don’t meet expectations, clients are going to jump ship.'
Stated differently, managing client exceptions through open communication could save the day in many cases. All someone has to do is speak up.
So we need to communicate well in order to be successful, but there’s another step between communication and success: relationships.
Success Requires Relationships–If Only Romeo Played Golf With Juliet’s Father
'It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.'
Of course I don’t need to tell you that, you know how important relationships are. They’re the reason why we go to networking events, send 'friend' and 'connect' requests, and suck up to our in-laws. Relationships are how our (hairy) backs get scratched and important deals get made.
We’ve all heard the stats on the profitability of serving existing customers and the folks at Introhivereport that one of their surveys revealed '98% of the top sales professionals say relationships are the most important part of generating new business.' Our guests on the first season of our Happy Porch Radio podcast also repeatedly cited long-term relationships as a key to their agency success.
I bet if Romeo had a way to develop a strong relationship with Mr. Capulet (in spite of the family feud), that tragedy could have been a punchy teen love comedy instead.
But every quality relationship requires something:
Communication Is Where a Relationship Begins
It’s the catalyst to relationship growth. It’s the tool of honesty and the mother of trust.
Communication is the only way to ensure that everyone is on the same page (Romeo and Juliet would have never made it to their first anniversary with their communication skills).
It’s how teams work in synchrony and how complex goals are achieved.
Communication is the backbone of any long lasting client / agency relationship and the key to long term agency success.
One Core Concept
It’s this simple:
Communication > Relationship > Trust > Success > (Loop back to the beginning a few times) > Long term success
Now I have to ask…
How much thought have you put into your agency’s communication methods?
Is your agency handling ongoing communication in a way that will build the highest quality relationships you possibly can?