Cover image for The relationship edge in business : connecting with customers and colleagues when it counts
The relationship edge in business : connecting with customers and colleagues when it counts
Acuff, Jerry, 1949-
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Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : Wiley, [2004]

Physical Description:
xvii, 237 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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HF5415.5 .A3 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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With real case studies and step-by-step guidance, The Relationship Edge in Business shows you how to: Develop the right mindset-understand that personal relationships are vital to business success Ask the right questions-discover the common ground you share with others Do the right thing-be truthful and straightforward or you'll undermine the goodwill you've worked so hard to build

Author Notes

Jerry Acuff is President of Delta Point-The Sales Agency, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based consultancy that helps market-leading companies find new and innovative ways to market products. A graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, he has also served as Executive in Residence at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
Wally Wood is a professional writer who has worked closely with senior executives to develop bestselling business books. In addition, he has been editor of two business magazines and an international marketing newsletter

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Most organizations train their sales staff to focus on product features and benefits and neglect the crucial aspect of building long-term relationships with clients. Acuff, president of Delta Leadership Group, uses a sincere approach in his practice of forming lasting relationships with others without keeping score or expecting paybacks. This spreading of goodwill is like the sowing of seeds that will sprout to benefit both your business and personal life. He introduces the Relationship Pyramid, with the largest group of relative strangers at the bottom and people who highly value your relationship at the top. Getting to the top of the Relationship Pyramid is a long-term proposition, and you have to put in the time and effort to get others to respect you or bond with you. Acuff suggests getting to know your clients better by getting them to talk about their favorite subject--themselves. He offers 20 questions designed to get people to open up, discusses ways to alleviate shyness, and suggests the sharing of a meal. A refreshing break from the winner-take-all approach to salesmanship. --David Siegfried Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Acuff, president of the Delta Leadership Group, believes that everyone can succeed at any livelihood by mastering the art of relationships. Acuff, who had a long career in pharmaceutical sales, defines the three keys to "relationship edge" as having the right mindset, asking the right questions and doing the right thing. The book develops these principles and uses real-life examples to show readers what types of behavior and conversations lead to success. For example, a sales person can offer to help a prospective customer without pitching a particular product, and often, because of this "goodwill," the would-be client ends up a steady customer. An employee at a large company makes a point of treating everyone equally, sending birthday greetings to staff in different departments. When her position is eliminated, she has a number of colleagues she can ask for help in finding a new job. Acuff says that asking other people about their lives outside of work is often a crucial step in forming a lasting business relationship. He includes a list of questions designed to stimulate conversation including "What do you do when you're not working?" "Do you actually get to see any teams play?" and "Where is your favorite place to vacation?" The author's reliance on quotes from just a handful of people, generally not well known, is a little tiresome, but overall, Acuff's casual, low-key writing style is appealing. The book should be particularly helpful to less experienced business people, who are more likely to try the recommended strategies than seasoned executives. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Forewordp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Chapter 1 Climbing the Relationship Pyramidp. 1
Building Relationships Is a Skillp. 4
Payback Time in Memphisp. 5
Relationships Can Trump Pricep. 7
Four Fundamental Selling Truthsp. 9
Meaningful Dialogue Comes with Trustp. 11
Climbing the Relationship Pyramidp. 13
You Need Knowledge, Integrity, Actionsp. 15
Key Points about the Pyramidp. 17
Chapter 2 What Strong Relationships Requirep. 21
Three Steps to Building a Positive Relationshipp. 24
Make Self-Fulfilling Prophecies Positivep. 27
Think Well of Others (Even the Jerks)p. 29
Implement the Process Completelyp. 31
Learn Strategies, Not Tacticsp. 33
Set Yourself Apartp. 35
Do Unexpected, Unselfish Actionsp. 37
Building a Relationship Takes Timep. 40
Decide Who's Key, Then Do Somethingp. 43
Chapter 3 Twenty Questionsp. 47
Start with a Self-Checkp. 50
Sharing Creates the Relationshipp. 52
Learn What Someone Treasuresp. 53
Thirteen Facts about Human Beingsp. 55
Let the Other Person Talkp. 58
Sell by Not Sellingp. 59
Start with These 20 Questionsp. 60
Memorize the Questions, but Think FORMp. 63
Tell Me Something That Will Surprise Mep. 65
Respect Their Time and Opinionsp. 66
Plan What You Will Askp. 68
Chapter 4 Good Questions Promote Meaningful Dialoguep. 71
Motives Matterp. 73
Setting up a Good Questionp. 74
Analyze the Bridge to the Questionp. 76
Preface Your Questionp. 78
Ask Personal Questions Firstp. 79
Hold up a Bookp. 82
Don't Suggest an Answerp. 84
Learn What Someone Treasuresp. 84
Make Them Thinkp. 88
Stimulate Real Thinkingp. 90
Ways to Gain Respectp. 91
Chapter 5 It's a Small World After Allp. 95
Connect for Yourselfp. 97
Use the Small World Phenomenonp. 99
Connect for the Other Personp. 103
Connect with Difficult Peoplep. 105
Probe for Connectionsp. 106
Chapter 6 It's Not What You Know; It's What You Dop. 109
Show You Genuinely Care about Other Peoplep. 112
Business Gifts Are Not Unselfish Actsp. 113
Be Alert to Opportunitiesp. 115
Do the Right Thingp. 130
Chapter 7 Interacts Well with Othersp. 133
Show Respect Correctlyp. 135
Identify Qualities You Respectp. 137
Thirteen Ways to Gain Respectp. 140
Examples of Building Respectp. 142
Chapter 8 Decide on Your Goalsp. 157
You Can Have What You Wantp. 163
Set Smart Goals for Yourselfp. 164
Visualize What You Wantp. 166
Set Difficult Goals--But Not Too Manyp. 169
Be Willing to Pay the Pricep. 171
You Don't Have to Be Where You Arep. 176
Chapter 9 And What If You're the Boss?p. 179
The Six Drivers of Business Successp. 182
Problems with Command and Controlp. 190
Job Satisfaction and Dissatisfactionp. 192
Problems with Sales Trainingp. 194
Selling Is Learning and Teachingp. 196
What Managers Should Be Doingp. 197
A Coaching Process for Relationship Developmentp. 198
Build Relationships Routinely, Consciously, Deliberatelyp. 202
Chapter 10 Maintaining Meaningful Relationshipsp. 203
Understand Customer Lifetime Valuep. 205
Create Time for Relationshipsp. 209
Help Others to Succeedp. 213
Keep the Dialogue Continualp. 217
Make Contact When You Don't Need Helpp. 222
Decide to Make a Differencep. 224
Notesp. 227
Indexp. 231