RELATIONSHIPS ARE FUNDAMENTALLY BUILT ON 3 THINGS, Trust, Integrity (being authentic/real) and Confidence.
Without effort business relationships that have taken months or years to establish can fade away. You need to work at them – here are a few tips that can help:
Keep up. This sounds obvious but it’s easy to forget to do it. If you don’t keep up with people its natural for you to fall of their radar and when they get an opportunity that could be referred to you it will go elsewhere.
Build trust. Don’t take advantage of people. Don’t spam them. Don’t assume that because you’ve exchanged cards with someone that they are interested in receiving your newsletter. The key to building trust is being honest.
Network. Networking is the key to building successful relationships, there are many options available locally, as we’ve mentioned before. The Harlow Chamber of Commerce is extremely active organizing two or three events per week. These events are often educational, which is an added bonus. Even if you aren’t much of a people person, putting yourself out there a little bit can help. You don’t have to be the life of the party. People would rather you just be yourself.
Show an interest in others. Unless you’re a childrens’ entertainer or a musician showing off is not going to do you many favours. It’s not rocket science to realize that early step to gaining respect and building a relationship is to show interest in other people. Listen to what people have to say and show a sincere interest in them. Ask questions about their job and kids. Everyone is impressed when someone shows they’ve taken the time to remember their stories.
Ian Hudson – HDCC
- Two ears, One mouth. Use in that proportion
- Go out of your way to put people together for their mutual benefit
- Ask about their interests away from business (and remember for when you met them again)
Work hard. People will invest in those who provide results and deliver. When someone asks for something, give a little more. Deliver early and take initiative to help in ways you weren’t asked.
Focus on giving. Many people want to build relationships so that they can have someone to help them out when they need it. You need to have a less Machiavellian attitude. Always think about how you can help people in your network. They’re far more likely to return a favour than they are to go out of their way for you, especially early in your relationship.
Focus on quality, not quantity. Not every contact has the potential to turn into a relationship. Perhaps the best goal at a networking event is to get just one good business card. However, that doesn’t mean you turn away everyone else you meet, because you don’t know which contacts are going to be the most promising. By all means, follow up with anyone who you may have a quality relationship with later. Just don’t overwhelm yourself trying to keep up with too many new people.