A lot of people understand the importance of business relationships, but we also tend to struggle with building them. My goal with this article is to provide some success tips that you can put into action.
Creating success in business is more about maintaining relationships than it is adding contacts and followers.
Win-Win business relationships work
You may not how to win-win business relationships work, but networking can be very beneficial. There so many ways that simple business relationships can pay it off that it’s hard to list. When you’re trying to get ahead in business and life, friends can make all the difference. Therefore, it’s important to know how to make friends. Building business relationships and real friends can be a lot of work, but it’s also worth the effort.
Here are some ways other business relationships can benefit you:
- Sharing feedback & advice- A good network allows you to share feedback and advice with experts in different fields.
- Swapping leads & recommendations- With the way the internet is growing the world is shrinking because online networking helps people communicate better than ever. If you’re looking for a job, clients, or any other recommendations it pays to have a strong network.
- Investors and other funding sources- Banks are not in a hurry to loan money to new businesses so it helps to have a few contacts to vouch for you. A good network also has a few people that may be able to loan you the money. If you build great rapport with others they can help you get a business off the ground.
- Referral marketing- Word-of-mouth is one of the best ways to grow a business due to the way people trust friends, family, and other customers. Referral marketing is also a free way to grow your business. Therefore, having a large network makes a lot of sense for any business owner.
- Finding jobs- Referrals are also a great way to get a job. Business owners tend to prefer hiring people that come with a strong recommendation from a friend, family member, or business owner that they trust.
- Your relationships open doors- Friends and colleagues can help you in so many different ways that the list could go on forever. You never know where life will take you so it’s important to know it’s better to make friends than it is enemies.
- Business relationships can turn into good friendships- People that you build positive business relationships with tend to also make great friends. The best friends you make in life will be people that you have things in common with. Good friendships often start with good business experiences.
How to Build Great Relationships
Even the best relationships require some care and effort, so it’s important to maintain them. Here some tips that will help you build great business relationships:
- Stay in touch- Staying in touch is a lot easier than ever due to social media. It’s important to stay in touch because it’s easier than ever to fall off someone’s radar. If you don’t talk to someone for a while they’ll be less likely to help when you finally reach out to them to ask. Therefore, it’s very important to maintain relationships as much as possible. It also doesn’t take much to send an email, call, or engage in someone’s social media content. It’s never a bad idea to set digital reminders to follow up with people in your network.
- Build trust- You only have one reputation so take care of it. Word spread quickly so make sure you treat people right. Don’t take advantage of people because it will ruin your relationship with them and it can also wreck your reputation. Being known as an honest and dependable person makes life easier in a lot of ways. Do the right thing and be dependable so you can build strong relationships with people.
- Network locally- Strong networking skills and building good relationships will give you a lot of options in life. Join a rotary group, nonprofit board of directors, or Chamber of Commerce that help your local community. Attend mixers and fundraisers that help people in your area. Networking can be formal and it can also be informal. Be friendly and strike up conversations with people that you come into contact with. You may not be much of a people person, but it’s important to act like one. Put yourself out there so you can make new contacts and build relationships that can help you and your business grow. You don’t have to be the life of the party, but you should avoid being the wallflower too. If you’re actively engaging with people in a positive way then you’re building your network.
- Focus a bit on others- People like people that help them and let them talk. Don’t focus on yourself all the time because you won’t get very far. Show interest in other people and help them so they’ll be more likely to help you. It’s also a better and happier way to live. Ask people questions about their lives, jobs, and kids. Pay attention and remember what they tell you so you can follow up later. Everyone like people that care about them and remember their stories.
- Go the extra mile- People tend to invest more into people that work hard and show a desire to help others. If you help others and deliver when you say will then you can expect more people to return the favor. When someone needs help give them what you can. Take the initiative to help others in ways you would want them to help you if the shoe were on the other foot. It takes effort to build strong relationships and you may have to be the first one to help.
- Focus on helping- People to tend to like people that help them out when they’re in need. Think about it. You like people that help you, right? Who doesn’t? Always think about how you can help others and they’ll be way more likely to help you. Helping people do things is a great way to begin a relationship.
- Similarly, many people want to build relationships so that they can have someone to help them out when they need it. Try 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 favor than they are to go out of their way for you, especially early in your relationship.
- Focus on quality- It’s better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies. No one can invest time and energy into everyone that they meet. It’s very easy to spread yourself thin and a lot of people won’t have a win-win mindset. Therefore, it pays to be realistic and mindful when it comes to building relationships. You don’t have to turn away everyone that wants to build a relationship, but you also can’t overwhelm yourself either. Focus on the people that seem to be happy, healthy, and helpful because it works both ways.
Things to avoid while building business relationships
Here are some things you should avoid doing in order to build the strongest relationships possible:
- Being impersonal- It’s natural and wise to be a little on guard with new people, but it’s also important to avoid being cold. Some people are all business and that is OK. However, there is also a fine balance between being wise and being obtuse. Remember that building a win-win relationship starts with kindness.
- Fail on the follow-up- If someone helps you in some way it’s very important to make sure that you don’t fail on the follow-up. Saying thank you and showing appreciation to people that help you is common courtesy. Failing to show appreciation is also a quick way to make sure people don’t go out of their way to help you in the future. Showing appreciation is a great way to build a strong relationship with someone.
- Ghosting people- No likes it when people just drop off without a word. If you show people that you’re likely to ghost them when you get what you want they’ll be less likely to help you. Being kind and following up with people that help you in some way builds relationships. Leaving people hanging is a terrible way to make a friend.
- Be inconsistent- Treat the waiter like you do the people that you are eating with. Treat everyone the way that you want to be treated. People notice how you treat other people so be consistent with how you treat others. It always pays to be nice to people and showing you’re sincere and genuine is how to build trust.
- Fail to show accountability- Bad things happen all the time to all of us in business and life in general. It’s important to own mistakes and handle things as they come up in a calm and professional manner. Nothing reveals character like tough times. Pointing fingers and dodging blame is not a great way to build relationships. Taking ownership and working to make bad situations better is the way to go. If you act professionally in bad times, then people will see and appreciate the effort. Holding yourself accountable and covering for team develops trust. People can be understanding, but showing a lack of accountability speaks volumes.
- Be unreliable- Leaving people hanging or not doing what you should be doing is a great way to ruin a relationship. Your value is only as good your word. Do what you say you will do when you say you’re going to do it.
- Say whatever you want- We all have our bad moments and say things that we shouldn’t from time to time. However, a slip of the tongue or saying the wrong things can also do a lot of damage. Words are like arrows because you can’t take them back once you fire them off. Therefore, it pays to be mindful of what you say and who you’re saying it to. Don’t drink too much at networking events if you tend to say things when you’re drunk. If you speak poorly about other people the people you’re speaking to will be wary of what you say behind their back.
- Surrounding yourself with bad people- Birds of a feather tend to flock together so avoid spending time with bad people. You’re going to be judged by the company you keep so spend time with good people. If you hang out with people that do bad things or take advantage of people, then expect people to assume you’re bad people too. Don’t refer people to bad people if you value your own reputation. Trust is hard to earn and it can be impossible to rebuild.
- Avoid transparency- Honesty is always the best policy. If you get caught in a lie the relationship is most likely over so just be honest. If people can’t trust you, then they’re not likely to do business with you. Getting caught in one lie can have a million repercussions.
It’s not easy to build a new relationship and it’s also nearly impossible to repair a broken one. Therefore, it pays to avoid making these mistakes at all costs.
Summing it all up
Having good relationships helps us all have a happier life. It’s always hard to grow a business. It can also be hard to have a happy and healthy life. Don’t make it harder by having bad relationships. Be honest and friendly with people so they will be more honest and friendly with you. Many hands make light work and we all need someone to lean on at some point. Helping people and building strong relationships is a big key in growing a business and leading a good life. Follow the Golden Rule by treating people the way you want to be treated so you can build win-win relationships.