There’s no question about it: when it comes to success in business and careers, your relationships will make the biggest difference.
Sure, your personal integrity, intellect and experience will help. But, the fact remains that we simply cannot do everything ourselves.
The more people that we know:
- the more options we’ll have,
- the more friends we can lean on
- the more job referrals we’ll [probably] get
Having the right link is essential to your success in the business world, especially if you plan to be extremely successful. I cannot possibly agree more with Robert Kiyosaki when he said; ‘your network determines your net worth’! What a legend.
Building a strong relationship is easy and at the same time, it could be difficult. So here are some actionable tips to build great business relationships.
How to build highly successful relationships
1. Relationships Demand Attention
It sounds basic, but we’re starting to forget a lot of these basics. We all need to maintain our relationships. If we don’t talk to someone for months, we will fall off their radar, or they may not immediately jump at the chance to help you when you finally reach out to them and ask.
Keep some records of who you have networked with and check in often. Don’t just reach out when you need something.
If they’re online contacts on a digital network, keep your conversations going. If they’re colleagues or people with whom you’ve swapped business cards, send an email or make a call every month or so. Check in and say ‘hello’. If you tend to forget to make – or worse, return calls or emails, use a task management system or calendar to remind you to call or write.
2. All Relationships are Based On Trust
Never take advantage of people. Never. It’s the whole “Golden Rule” and all that…
Don’t even let them think that you’d do so. It’s the quickest way to ruin a relationship and build a bad reputation that can harm other relationship too. The key to building trust is being honest. When you are willing to forego your own interests to help someone else, they know they can rely on you.
Do the right things and be dependable, and you’ll see your relationships grow stronger.
3. Meet Face to Face
We connect virtually today. In fact, 90% of our connections are virtual. But you can always take your business relationship to another level by meeting in person. You can meet local contacts for lunch or if you travel regularly, try to meet with your contacts that are in the city you visit. Another good thing is that you can use Skype to take your relationship to a new level.
4. Build Your Network
Networking is the key to building successful relationships, and you have many options available to you.
I also attend as many mixers as I can to meet new contacts. However, networking doesn’t have to be this formal. You can strike up a friendly conversation with someone at the gym.
As long as you are engaging with other people, you are actually networking. Even if you aren’t much of a people person you can put yourself out there a little bit so that you can make some great contacts.
You don’t have to be the life of the party. People would rather you just be yourself. Even if you’re not comfortable putting yourself out there on Facebook, take a look at your Linked in profile. Make sure it’s up to date, and test the waters to see if you can make any new contacts online.
Don’t be afraid to experiment, too. Anyone can innovate.
5. Show An Interest In People Besides You
Showing interest in others is an early step to gaining respect and building a business relationship.
One bad attitude to avoid in a relationship is being pretentious. Pretentious people don’t get very far because they always talk about themselves. Listen to what people have to say and show sincere interest in them.
Here’s a news flash: in other people’s world, you aren’t the most important person. Accept that. Embrace it. Use it to your advantage.
Ask personal questions i.e. questions about their job, kids, and challenges. Another very important thing to note here is that you need to pay good attention to what people brought up in discussions, so that you may be able to reference it in future discussions. Everyone is impressed when someone shows they’ve taken the time to remember their stories. It shows that you actually care.
If you remember that their dog Sparky wasn’t doing well, they’ll be glad that you remembered a few months down the road.
6. Work Smart and Work Hard
This is one of the proven strategies to market yourself. People no longer buy knowledge…they buy results. People need you to prove yourself worthy before they invest in you. Believe me, nobody is ready to get your back or put in word for you, if they know you will not deliver the result.
7. Connect Everyone
Chances are many of your connections could help each other out if only they were connected. When you felt an introduction would be beneficial and both parties have agreed, introduce two of your connections to each other.Be a business match-maker. Those people will then move mountains for you.
8. Write A Letter
We now live in a digital world. Everything is electronic now.
You can get someone’s full attention by mailing a handwritten note to them. If you just finished reading a good book that provides information about an issue you’ve discussed with someone in your, mail it to the person with a note expressing why you’re sending it.
Think about how that would impact you if someone did it for you.
9. Send A Few Links
If you come across a link that one of your contacts might appreciate, send it and give him or her a short explanation of why you thought the link will be useful. You can also personalize this by letting them know how the link made you remember him or her. A point of warning here; do not send too many links to the same person.
10. Congratulate Them Often
If you learned that one of your connections is promoted or changes professions, rejoice with them. Send a congratulatory note and ask personal questions about the change. This is an opportunity to catch up on other matters and provide an update on your own status.
Bonus Tip 11. Don’t Be A Burden
This sounds like a caution. You need to give the people in your network space and room. They are not nurturing a relationship with you alone. So, let them breathe and grow on other things. No one likes to be smothered. Gauge their comfort level and go from there.
Wrap It Up!
If there is only one thing that determines how far you go in life, it’s your ability to build the right network and maintain a good business relationship. And I believe the tips I have mentioned above will be of help in building great relationships that are mutually beneficial.
And don’t forget there is love in sharing! 🙂
Steve is a 37-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence on SteveAdcock.us. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.