I recently hosted an online seminar, as part of an educational business series, focused on a topic I am very passionate for - building strong business-to-business relationships. This is an underutilized tool for adding value and growth to your business while enhancing your own personal development, which is why I chose this topic to present.
This week's Insights shares key points that will provide you with a fresh perspective on building & strengthening your business relationships, as well as motivation to start (or continue) connecting and networking, and a simple reminder of the importance of reaching out to say "hi".
8 Considerations for Developing Stronger Business Relationships
- Building relationships is like planting a seed for your business - it requires a lot of time and continued attention up front in order to develop and grow for you. They're a long term investment in your business (not a "quick-fix") that provide you with opportunities to foster new learnings, provide value, and develop new insights about yourself and/or your company. The time spent building business relationships is a resource that is an asset to your business.
- Strong relationships require TRUST and CREDIBILITY - both of which need to be earned, and that takes time. Compress this time by putting other's needs ahead of yours while you're establishing the relationship. Begin by focusing on how you can offer value to the other person/business in the relationship. This will rapidly build your credibility, transforming your business from just another company to a brand that they recognize and trust - and more importantly, they will want to reciprocate the value to your business.
- Building relationships is frequently about sharing expertise and/or value with each other. By sharing knowledge or insights, even through a well thought-out comment or email, you can add value to the other person. Always consider how you can help each other - even if it just asking the right questions or answering their questions, you may be able to help them grow their own business and expertise.
- Be authentic and genuine - expressing true (not fake or insincere) interest in the matters that excite/concern the other person and/or their business. This really isn't any different from developing personal relationships, and is all about being human. Over time, an authentic business relationship can lead to a friendship and, to me, that is one of the best parts of developing your business relationships. Who wouldn't prefer to work with their friends?
- Don't underestimate the power of listening. People want to be heard and feel like they're providing value/help, so if you're asking for help or advice - sit back and take it! Listen, ask questions, and focusing on absorbing as they share their own experience or story. And if they were helpful, be sure to follow up and let them know.
- Take the time to check in and see what’s going on with their business. Find out what they are up to is just as important as you trying to communicate your needs or wants from them.
- How have you been?
- How’s business?
- What are you working on?
- Share information like news articles, blog posts, or anything that you think they would find interesting
- As relationships continue to develop, people may start to realize that they want to work with you in a different capacity. There are frequently opportunities for business partnerships in addition to just developing strong business relationships.
- Ultimately one of the goals of building relationships is to build your community. It's about creating a support system for your business and a network of people that are invested in your or your business. That's no easy feat and takes time, consistency, and dedication to build.
One of the best parts of being a business owner is being invest your time and assets into exploring and building relationships. There are nonstop business opportunities available and you never know where you may find your next BIG IDEA. I'm always interested in meeting new people and developing an authentic connection. I encourage you to feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to say hello and introduce yourself, or just to check-in.
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