It’s hard when I hear professionals discussing business without either of them using the phrase, “I have a great relationship with…” For me, the most valuable parts of a business career are the relationships.
Bottom line: In business, relationships are crucial.
If People Like You, They’ll Listen
When we have great business connections, people often grow to like, know, and trust us, which means they listen to us differently. A valuable business relationship also enhances our willingness to be more attentive, respectful, and open minded. This two-way professional growth is why we have such a business culture centered on the term, “networking.” It’s common knowledge that people buy from people they like and trust. The higher quality business or personal relationships you have, the better. In my book, “The Relationship Edge in Business,” I describe the exact 3-step process for building a valuable business relationship, especially when you don’t naturally connect with someone.
“Networking” is something that many people find intimidating. This is why I have focused my work on teaching others how to effectively network in general, but also at events specifically catered to networking. The 3 biggest changes people could make to build a more efficient and effective network at one of these events would be the following:
Adopt a “promotion” mindset about networking
In order to seek and find that motivation to network, we must first believe in the potential that networking has to bring us (and the people we network with) growth, advancement, and accomplishment. The belief in these benefits is the first step because without it, what’s the point of putting ourselves out there in an uncomfortable situation? Our drive shouldn’t come from our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) phenomenon, but rather to network because we can help others as others can help us. That way, networking becomes authentic and meaningful.
Listen more than you talk
When we’re trying to meet new people and build a business relationship with them, it isn’t easy. Connecting can be hard, but it helps to focus on your listening skills more than your talking skills, and that should take some pressure off. Focusing on others gives you so much more ground to work with, so we must great listeners, ask questions, and always be seeking to find substantive, shared interests.
Pinpoint what you have of value. Be willing to share it
In his book, “Love is the Killer App,” Tim Sanders says that we should share our wisdom and our contacts. Constantly think about who you can connect others with and why they need to know each other. Also, think about the wisdom you can share that they might appreciate. Remember that people are far more likely to remember us, follow up with us, or begin a relationship with us if we have helped them in some way.
Networks that are built to last and that work for us have to be intentionally built, intentionally cultivated, and done with a mindset focused on developing both in the relationship.