3 Steps to Building Successful Business Relationships
Recently, I was talking with a friend who was lamenting about how hard it can be to build thriving business relationships. As a small business owner, she’s noticed (and heard from other folks) that many people seem to view networking groups and events strictly through a “what’s in it for me” filter. In other words, they’re only there to promote their products and services – not to build long-term business relationships. And after a few meetings, in which these people don’t generate any sales from the members of the group, they’re never seen nor heard from again.
I can understand how frustrating this can be to my friend, but she needs to realize people who approach networking in this manner aren’t the people that she would want to create and maintain long-term relationships with in the first place. Building strong, lasting business relationships takes time and effort. They don’t just happen. You have to consistently work at them.
As a business coach who has worked on creating and maintaining long-lasting business relationships myself, I want to share with you three ways you can build these successful relationships, too.
Step 1. Be a Friend
According to Brian Tracy in his book, “Change Your Thinking Change Your Life,” you can achieve things with people by taking a more indirect route versus a direct one. Like them first. Don’t try to get them to like you by bragging about your accomplishments or trying to be clever. Admire and respect them first. Give unexpected praise to help others feel better about themselves. Take the time every day to do something nice for someone else. Treat people in a friendly way without expecting anything in return.
Step 2. Put Others First
As a member of John Maxwell’s Team, I’ve heard him say, “The measure of success is not the number of people who serve you, but the number of people you serve.” You have to shift your focus from receiving to giving. You do this by constantly and consistently adding value to the lives of others. Refer business to them. Make introductions that would be beneficial to them. Send them articles and other information you know they would be interested in. Serving and helping others builds trust, which is an important step in building strong business relationships.
Step 3. Resist Relationship Decline
Once you create a relationship, you have to continually work at maintaining it. Don’t take your relationships for granted. Don’t assume that everything is fine. You need to take the time to communicate with the other person consistently.
This is especially important if you’re building and maintaining customer relationships. Take the time to develop a customer relationship management (CRM) plan to help you improve your client relationships. Otherwise, if you neglect your customers, they may decide to go to one of your competitors. Remember, it’s far easier to keep a current customer than it is to attract a new one. Therefore, make the time to stay in touch.
Make Business Relationship Building a Lifelong Pursuit
You’ve probably heard that you can never have too many friends – and that’s especially true when it comes to business peers, partners, customers and clients. By putting in the time and work to consistently apply these steps, you will be rewarded with long-lasting business relationships.
To your success!
B3 – Be Bold, Brilliant and Boundless!