4 stages of building healthy and successful business relationships
Growing something worth having takes time. That include almost everything we do in life; besides those random and spontaneous moments of luck. Building a business is one of the most common challenges people set out to accomplish and most of the time forget to think about building a sufficient network.
Some of you have gone through life making friends by the minute while others found themselves as more of a lone ranger hanging on to 1 or 2 close friends. Either way, most people neglect the value that comes from building relationships in the business world.
When you build a business relationship and start to grow your network, you are likely to start off by yourself. It can feel intimidating and discouraging; however, we've created a list that can help you strive to create relationships that will last and give you the realization of progress along the way.
Step 1 - Get Acquainted
You can't start a new relationship with someone you haven't met. To meet people, you have to say 'yes' to more things. At first, it sounds awful but trust us, it's the key to growing your business. If you skip this step and hope every meaningful relationship is going to walk right up to you and introduce themselves, it's not and you should find another way to earn money.
If you hate networking, it's most likely because you've been to an event where everyone puts on a fake smile and hands out their business card in hopes to gain some business. Well, they've all missed the first step and aren't likely to get ANY business.
If you want to leave a good first impression, have a real conversation. It's almost like the best way to network is by not trying to network at all. Learn about the person you are talking to and their business and most importantly, get rid of any prejudgments you may have made. You'll be surprised by the people you create the strongest relationships with.
Step 2 - Become Allies
Keep in mind these steps don't all happen over night. After meeting someone, it's normally best to let it grow naturally and even simmer before taking the next step.
The key to becoming an ally with your new acquaintance is to dig up what you have in common. Maybe you both share the same hobby, maybe you've traveled to the same countries or tried and failed the same things; whatever that thing is, it'll help you build what you need to become allies.
Some of the best talking points are ideas. Ideas are what excite us most and it will bring out the side of you that will appeal to anyone else.
Step 3 - Building Trust
Your relationship will be stuck at level 2 until you start trusting each other. Think about it, what has built trust in your past relationships? Most of the time it's built naturally and can take years. Trust is a key step in order to evolve your relationship. We need to shake the idea that if we give a referral or offer something, it won't be for nothing. Trust that it will be appreciated and acknowledged and that's when exchanges will start to happen mutually.
So how do you build trust? Keep your word and show trust in others. Keep your word and show trust in others. Yes it was necessary to emphasize it twice. Be on time, do what you said you were going to do, and show people that you take it your seriously. People will start trusting you.
How much do you trust that friend that always says "we should hang out some time!" yet the last time that actually happened was 4 years ago. If you don't intend on following through with something, don't offer it.
Now you know the person, you like the person and you trust the person. The feelings are mutual but for some reason there is no action? What is missing? The fourth stage is the final key that unlocks the goods.
Step 4 - Allow things to happen
Your relationship needs give and take. Allow yourself to offer things like referrals and introduction to others and at the same time, allow yourself to accept the same from others.
Don't keep tabs on who's given what. Don't wait until you receive a referral in order to give one. Once you realize that your relationship will truly thrive when you can pass this last step and feel positive towards all interactions, you'll see why business networking adds value to your business and your life.
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