It takes a dedicated amount of time and energy to build good, strong, lasting business relationships today. They are such an integral and necessary part of success, but people don’t seem to want to put in the work.
Alert: lasting business relationships just don’t happen and develop without the dedicated, consistent work.
Your business network should be a qualified, selective group of people you can count on, tap into and rely on for support, direction and insight. You have to find that balance of being a giver and a taker. You can’t just give or take, you need both. Far too many people don’t ask for help when they need it and that can be fatal in small business.
Selectivity, consistency and engagement are essential for finding great people and growing relationships with them.
1. Be Authentic
This is pretty simple. Be who you are and accept others as they are. It’s easy to create a false persona, especially online, but that is not the way to start a relationship and short lived when we start qualifying people and companies. Find people and companies you feel a natural connection and ease of communication with and things you both have in common. The authenticity of connecting personality, beliefs and point of view can accelerate relationships.
2. Identify Shared Goals and Values
We seek out people in life we like, share similar goals and values with. Are they honest, kind, knowledgeable, helpful? How do they treat others? This is about moral character. Do we respect them? I have sadly seen too many people present themselves one way only to take advantage of people, once they have their trust. We may not always share the same point of view with everyone, but the shared values are a must.
3. Develop Mutual Respect
I find this takes time, unless someone is referred to you by a trusted connection. We prove ourselves over time and through different activities and experiences. Join a chamber, professional group, or online community which are all great environments to develop relationships. Be patient, selective and watch people in action. Building mutual respect is an essential for growing relationships.
4. Share Some Vulnerability
We are human and sometimes that means sharing and supporting people through difficulty, challenge and change. Showing our vulnerability is part of our authenticity. One word of caution: this is best shared with a select few rather than more publicly. Use good judgment here.
5. Make Meaningful Connections for People to Network with Each Other
The greatest compliment in business is a referral. We should be thoughtful, have the right motives and be connecting people for the right reasons. Not all referrals work out. It takes two to make it happen and work, so don’t be doing all the work.
When we get more serious and engaged on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media where community gathers and exchanges ideas, we are serving and helping . Serving and helping builds trust like nothing else.
~Small Business Trends