Good, strong and long-lasting business relationships do take dedicated amounts of time and energy to build. Relationships are such an integral and necessary part of success, but people don’t seem to want to put in the work.
Lasting business relationships just don’t happen and develop without the dedicated, consistent work and time.
As an entrepreneur, you already must have encountered numerous relationships and will continue to, on daily basis: with your business vendors; with your contract workers or employees; with your customers; with your prospective customers; and with your connections on social media.
In fact, it’s nearly impossible to run any kind of profitable business without forming a variety of relationships. Here are three tips to make those relationships beneficial to your business.
1. Always Be Authentic
Have you heard the phrase, “Fake it till you make it”? Some believe that you need to replicate a certain style or mindset before you actually reach that level of success, but can you do that and still show your authentic self?
People want to connect with you. They want to know what your life is like. They want and need to relate to you on a personal level so that you become more real to them. If you are authentic with your image and what you post, they in turn will give you their trust and, likely their money.
If you fake it too much or you get caught in a lie on social media, your image can come crashing down. Instead of being a likeable entrepreneur, you’ll have a reputation as being a fake or not walking the walk. If you want to be trustworthy, earn that trust by building your relationships based on integrity and honesty.
2. Always Listen Carefully
When building business relationships, remember that you are not the center of the universe. Preparing a sales pitch for any kind of networking event is a fruitless effort that will likely make people run from you if you do not have an already established relationship with them.
This applies when you meet someone on social media. If your first interaction, whether it be a post or direct message, is a sales pitch the result (being unfriended) will likely be the opposite of what you want.
Instead, show an interest in THEIR business or THEIR life. Once you ask one question, people naturally want to keep talking, especially if they are passionate about their industry and mission.
Listen to them speak, tuck away interesting business for a later time, and remember to send a follow-up email (or DM) the next business day, simply commenting how nice it was to meet them. The next time you encounter them (in person or on social media) make a point of acknowledging them and start a new conversation.
This also applies to entrepreneurs who create products. Listen to what your audience wants and needs. What are they struggling with right now and how can you help them? Listening is a very important skill when it comes to business relationships as well as creating loyal customers.
3. Share business knowledge
This simply means keep sharing your knowledge, resources, free articles, and ebook chapters; anything that will be of value to your audience.
By sharing information, you are building yourself up as an authority in that area of expertise and also showing what a kind and generous person you are.
This evokes good emotions of happiness and kindness which, hopefully, merge with your online image and will endear you to many more prospects. Be careful not to share too much personal information though.