So I’m talking to a client recently, and we’re discussing plans for training that I’d be doing for his team the following week.
Out of nowhere, he asks, “Have you ever had a dream you were mad at someone, and when you wake up, you’re angry with the person in real life?”
I said, “Not sure that I have… why?”
His turn: “I had this dream that you canceled on me—you had a good excuse that I couldn’t argue with, but still… I woke up and I was mad.”
A moment passed. I asked, “Are you still angry?”
He said, “A little. Yeah.”
Than I said, “I haven’t actually done anything though.”
“You’re just mad because of a dream you had.”
“OK. Yeah, I got nuthin’ for you on that.”
Then we both burst out laughing because the whole exchange was so totally ridiculous and we got to work.
Which just goes to show you:
- Life is “profersonal.” Real world relationships don’t care about how you like to set your Facebook privacy settings one way for professional contacts and another way for personal contacts. Strong relationships know no lines.
- Relationships matter. Thank God I’m close enough to this client that he would tell me something like this. Otherwise, we probably would have had a stressful conversation, and our deal would have likely suffered as a result. For no real reason.
- Sometimes, when you’re reading everyone’s body language and voice inflections and trying to understand why certain conversations played out the way they did, you’re just wasting your time. You’ll never know.
- Roll with it. Life serves up some truly great stories sometimes. Enjoy them!
Your clients come to irrational conclusions about you, too, based on things that are totally out of your control. The question is, are you close enough with them that they tell you about it?
Or are you so busy classifying all your relationships and wondering about the ethical implications of befriending a client (or doing business with a friend) that you forget to build the relationship in the first place?
Jason Seiden is CEO of Ajax Workforce Marketing. Ajax amplifies brands by aligning employees' online messaging.