Business has always been more about who you know, not necessarily what you know. Yes, you’ve likely heard that cliché before; however, it is very relevant for small businesses.
Taking the time to build better business relationships — ones that have the potential to be mutually beneficial is key to success in business.
Nothing truly worthy happens in business without people. Even if it’s all business, it’s personal. Someone is affected one way or another.
Business relationships take effort, though. However, your effort can bear tremendous fruit if done systematically and purposefully.
What follows is nine simple, very doable ways to build better business relationships.
NOTE: THIS POST IS PART OF THE 4-PART "DIFFERENTIATE OR DIE" SERIES...
➊ Do Your Homework
It’s never been easier to find out something about anyone. Just Google them.
Go ahead! Type their name into Google and run a search. You are bound to find out something you can use to bond with them.
Nothing is more flattering than when someone you meet has taken the time to learn a little about you in advance.
Find commonality. Common contacts. Common interests. Talking points and other areas you can bond around.
➋ Keep Stellar Records
As business professionals, we may make hundreds, maybe even thousands of contacts each year, thus making it all the more critical to keep good records.
Today’s CRM (customer relationship management) system, such as my favorite, Keap, makes it easy to effectively track interactions through emails, texts, meetings, or phone conversations.
Now when we are about to resume conversations with someone we haven’t spoken to in a while, we can see exactly where we left off.
➌ Stay In Touch
There’s nothing worse than not following up with a new contact. So you’ve gone through the process of meeting that person — Now what?
Have a system for staying connected. Email marketing systems make this more accessible than ever!
Consistency is key here!
Be sure to make each contact purposeful and valuable to your contact.
➍ Learn To Listen
We can hear. However, do we always listen intently when our contacts speak? If so, we probably wouldn’t forget their name within seconds after they tell us.
Seek first to understand and then to be understood! Not the other way around. I’m talking about making a conscious effort to listen.
Most of us are so busy figuring out what to say next that we don’t listen to what the other person is saying.
Be genuinely curious!
➎ Your Word Is Gospel
Your word is all you have! It’s gold. Treat it as such.
It’s as simple as that.
Abuse it with your contact, and you can damage your integrity and credibility with them — possibly forever.
➏ Show Respect
Please show respect for your contact — their actions, beliefs, and time. This doesn’t mean you have to like it; you must respect it because it’s important to them.
Nothing damages a business relationship more than utter disrespect.
This is even more reason to research your contact and find out what makes them tick!
Hey, if you can avoid offending someone, why not do it?
➐ Exercise Patience
We live in a world of instant gratification. We want everything yesterday!
While this could appeal to some, it wreaks havoc on our ability to be patient!
Keep your cool!
And most certainly, don’t come off as desperate!
Remember, it’s okay to be persistent. Just don’t be pushy!
➑ Be Genuine
Don’t be afraid to share something about yourself — Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
People do business with people, NOT companies!
Let your contact get to know you — The real you!
Soon you’ll see some of your business relationships grow to a deeper, more fruitful level.
➒ Be A Giver, Not A Taker
Let your generosity flow!
If there’s any credence to the law of reciprocation, it will come back to you in one way, shape, or form.
But give for the right reasons without expectation of anything in return.
Allow yourself to experience the joy of giving!
So, In Summary...
Wait—Want More On Building Better Business Relationships?
Want to take a deeper, tangential dive into how to build better business relationships? Check out this great conversation I had with sales expert Jeff Goldberg where we discuss how great marketing paves the way for an easier sale—and the role business relationships play in that effort. It’s more relevant today than ever.
Now On To Our 3rd Key
P.S. Don’t forget to check out the other articles in this Differentiate or Die series. I believe you’ll be glad you did.