7 Ways to Build and Strengthen Business Relationships
Business relationships are fundamental to the success of any professional as they provide the opportunity to share insight and both give and receive much-needed support. But creating a network of likeminded individuals doesn’t just happen overnight. It takes a significant amount of time and energy to develop and foster strong business relationships. The good news is, with the right strategy, you can be well on your way to locating and connecting with great people who will help you grow and succeed.
Here are 7 things you can start doing today to improve your professional relationships.
Be Authentic – First and foremost, you can’t expect to attract the right kind of people to your business network if you’re putting on an act. Relationships – whether personal or professional – should be based on trust and honesty, so remember to always be yourself. This will allow you to connect with other qualified individuals and businesses that share your beliefs, values and goals.
Know Where to Look – Where you network is almost as important as how you do, so be sure you’re spending time in the right places, with the right people. Take the extra steps to research and locate the kinds of groups, communities and organizations that would be most beneficial for your particular business niche, and then get to work shaking some hands, rubbing some elbows, collecting some business cards and making those meaningful connections.
Find a Common Ground – What is it that makes a particular relationship worth pursuing? In business, just as in our personal lives, we look for connections that are mutually beneficial. Take the time to get to know your contacts on a more personal level. This will help you to identify things you have in common and learn more about how you might be able to help one another in the future.
Be a Giver, Not Just a Taker – Sure, you want to grow your professional network, but doing so shouldn’t only involve taking from others. Strong relationships are a two-way street, so always make a point to extend an offer of help or advice. For instance, share referrals within your network to help increase the business performance of others. Chances are they’ll return the favor, which means you’ll both benefit in the long run.
Be Consistent – You can’t expect a relationship to survive if it’s not regularly tended to, so make an effort to keep in touch. If your busy schedule makes this challenging, consider using technology to your advantage. For example, using a relationship manager application can help you keep the conversation going without having to put a ton of time and effort into it.
Always Follow Through – Reiterating the importance of trust, your contacts should feel confident that when you say you’ll do something, you will. It’s that simple. Be a person of your word. When you tell someone you’ll call, pick up the phone. If you promise to attend an event, make sure you keep it on your schedule. The more reliable you are, the more likely your connections will be to send business your way.
Have Some Fun – It doesn’t have to be all work and no play. To the contrary, strong relationships are built on a personal connection, so don’t be afraid to let down your hair and have a little fun with your contacts from time to time. Grab a cocktail after work, hit the golf course, attend a local art gallery opening – whatever it is you both enjoy, make some time to fit it in. The payoff will be well worth the extra effort.
Developing and fostering strong, mutually beneficial business relationships is not just a great way to gain more clients. It’s also a valuable way to learn from others, expand your knowledge and share the many things you have to offer. By implementing the above tips and strategies, you’ll be well on your way to creating a solid network of professionals with whom you can connect, collaborate and work together toward ongoing success.
Latest posts by Rebecca Daneault (see all)
- 7 Ways to Build and Strengthen Business Relationships - September 23, 2016