If your marriage were a business, would your spouse be looking for another job?
Our most important and intimate relationships often don’t receive the attention, time and training that we give our business relationships. Here are two secrets from the business world to apply to your personal relationships.
1. Know Your Customer
To grow a business, it is critical to understand your customers and prospects.
People communicate in different ways. Some people are highly visual and the way they process information and express themselves is in visual ways. For example, a visual person would describe their spouse using descriptive words like: 6 feet tall, brown hair, blue eyes, handsome, etc.
Auditory people take in their world by evaluating what they hear. They would describe their spouse in this way: “She compliments me and says the sweetest things”, “He has a deep voice and sings out loud.”
Kinesthetic people typically rely on how they feel and they learn by experience. They would describe their spouse in this way: “I get butterflies when she’s around”, “She holds my hand”, “He’s cuddly & warm”, “I feel safe and comfortable in his arms.”
Each of us has all three of these traits in us, though one tends to dominate. To discover which one your partner is, listen to the words they choose, then you can “speak” their language.
Before my husband discovered I was visual, he would get frustrated with me because he would explain things over and over and I just didn’t get it. I kept saying, “I don’t SEE it. I can’t PICTURE it.” Now, when he wants me to understand something, like our finances, he gets out a sheet of paper and draws a graph. Ahhh…
Your life partner is your biggest customer. Don’t risk losing your biggest account by taking your communication for granted. Save yourself hassle and heartache by paying attention to how your partner communicates… and make an effort to communicate in a way that is most natural to your partner.
2. Ask for the order. Ask the tough questions.
In business, once you’ve determined that your prospect is qualified to buy from you (and that your solution will solve their problem), it’s time to ask for the order.
In relationships we don’t always ask for the order. We often don’t ask the really important questions that will make the biggest difference. We ask her if she’d like Chinese or Italian food for dinner. We ask him if we should stay home or go out. But do we ask our partner how they would know they are loved?
Remember the Neil Diamond/ Barbara Streisand song, “You don’t bring me flowers; you don’t sing me love songs”? They sang about two people with two different strategies for knowing the other loved them. One person used to bring flowers and the other used to sing love songs. They both stopped, when life got busy with responsibilities. Now what they notice is that the other person doesn’t do what they used to do to show their partner love.
When my husband and I were dating and he’d go on a trip, I would slip love notes in his luggage. After a few years, the travel notes stopped. I didn’t stop writing them because I stopped loving him; I stopped writing them because I didn’t know it was important to him.
One day I asked him, “How do you know I love you?” and he said, “When you write me little love notes.” So, I made a note in my planner to “write love notes to Dave” every few days. I created structure to support my overall strategy to make sure my husband knows he is loved every single day.
How would you know you’re loved? How would your partner know? When you find out their strategy, do it! Ask the tough questions, ask for the order.
There are many business rules that apply to our personal relationships. Knowing your customer and asking for the order are critical if a business is to be successful. If your relationship was a company, and your partner was your biggest account, would you be confident that you know how to speak their language in order to be able to ask for the order?