Friday, November 9, 2012

Relationship Building is the Only Way to Succeed in Business

Last night I went for drinks with one of my dear, old friends. We've known each other for years. It was so great to see her. She has attended some writing workshops, and she attended my writer's group Writers Who Mean Business. We've discussed her book project on and off. I don't do pressure sales. I went out with her as a friend to enjoy some girl time. By the end of the conversation, she brought up her book project and an upcoming event she would like it published in time to release. The conversation shifted -- and within five minutes we decided to publish her book for the event.

Relationship building is the key to all success in the modern economy. Networking and relationship building go hand-in-hand. You network to meet people -- and then you build critical relationships with them. You figure out how you can help them. You share and build a true, trusted business "friendship" and go from there. An opportunity to do business with them may or may not arise quickly. And the opportunity may not be a direct one. They may simply know of someone who could use your services.

So, how do you build proper relationships?

  • Ask for his/her business card
  • Ask questions about his/her business
  • Most importantly listen
  • Suggest a coffee or lunch meeting
  • Follow-up -- Heidi Sloss who wrote Fortune is in the Follow-up is nodding, "yes"
  • Go the coffee or lunch meeting BUT don't have an agenda per se
  • Go as a great friend and spend time getting to know the person
  • See what you can do to help his/her business
  • Once again follow-up and send referrals and see what you can do for them
Over time, when you go into a business relationship not with the mentality of what can I get out of it, but rather what can I GIVE to it, you will end up both giving and getting. Isn't that a marvelous win-win. 

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