Grow Relationships. Grow Your Print Business.

I like talking to people to find out what makes them tick.

Why? Because people are interesting.

When you learn what motivates a person to get up in the morning, what brings them joy or makes them light up, you get to communicate on a whole different level than just simple conversation. This new level of communication is where connections are made, loyalties are formed, and relationships are built.

And business is all about relationships. After all, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, right?

While it’s always good to know things, your wealth of knowledge shouldn’t come at the expense of getting to know people – especially the people you want to do business with.

In his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Stephen Covey understood the heart behind business relationships when he said, “Seek first to understand and then to be understood.” When you connect with people at this level, they know you care about them more than just a transaction.

Relationships Beat Transactions Every Time

Transactions happen with institutions; relationships happen with people.

There’s a misconception in the business world that the purpose of forming relationships is to sell something. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Plus, people aren’t blind; they can see right through that. Relationships, and the care that comes with them, take work and emotional investment.

Relationships are actually a lot harder than merely investing money. They are an investment of time, energy, and a part of yourself. But, the investment rewards of relationships are unbeatable. Here are just a few relationship rewards worth noting:

  • Broadened experience. Prioritizing relationships over transactions helps you become a more interesting person. Your world of experience is broadened by the people you meet and get to know.
  • Increased support. Relationships allow you to become bigger than just yourself out there trying to make a living and support your family. You have a base of support. (This increased support has been amplified even more in these past two years during the pandemic.)
  • Both parties win. Relationships encourage both parties when things look tough and bleak. When you get to know people on a genuine and personal level, they take you with them.

An Example of Relationship-Focused Growth

We’ve seen the benefits of relationships in business numerous times.

For example, one instance was a person in the marketing department of a large corporation. We (my team and myself) built a relationship with this gal and the company she worked for. She left and went to a head marketing position with a larger organization.

Guess what?

She called us and, suddenly, we had two large corporate clients due to that single relationship. In the meantime, she introduced us to others at her new company. We got to know them and…

Guess what?

They left and took us with them. Another large corporate client! Sure, we could have gone out and tried to land those big clients, but there is something about already having trust (a.k.a relationship) with a person that makes it so much easier and natural. They want to do business with you.

Relationships are for More Than Clients

Vendor Relationships

Being in the printing industry, we could make the same case about relationships with our vendors.

Who besides myself is finding it so frustrating trying to purchase paper?

I am finding that the relationships I have formed allow me to ask for help securing the materials I need. I could ask by just calling up another supplier, but having a relationship with a person there makes it much easier.

Employee Relationships

Employees are the same. My team will be the first to tell you how I get sappy and almost tear up sometimes because I appreciate them so much.

They say they are just doing what they are paid to do. That’s true, but I can tell it’s more than that. My team cares about me because they know I care about them.

The best investment you can make is in people, not just training them for a task, but caring about them as the great person God created them to be. – Ralph Irwin

By the way, don’t just scan Facebook to see about their interests; talk to them. I love seeing people light up when I ask them about something they really care about. I have the best job in the world because I have the best people in the world that I get to work with!

In the end, growing your print business comes down to these two words: relationships matter!

Written by

Ralph Irwin

Owner, Irwin Printing Co., Inc.

Ralph Irwin owns and operates Irwin Printing in Republic, Missouri. Founded in 1974 by Ralph's father, Irwin Printing has continued to build a strong legacy through Ralph's dedication and passion for helping his customers and their businesses thrive. Ralph's legacy-building continues at home as well, as he and his wife, Gail, spend their time raising three teenagers.