“Building Relationships – The True Gems in Business”
by Trina Newby
There’s Diamonds In Your Backyard!
I came to understand the true meaning and value of a business relationship over 10 years ago after spending thousands of dollars in traditional advertisements with little return. This is not to say that traditional advertising is wrong – I just didn’t have the money to do it! I then realized that without the funds to do consistent, traditional advertising, I had to develop business relationships that would provide referrals, as well as resources.
Once I started connecting with people one-on-one, I discovered that no advertisement or marketing plan in the world could beat the true value of developing a business relationship that involves trust, value, and the willingness to share and refer.
How many times have you heard the saying, “the diamonds are in your own backyard”? It’s really true! Diamonds refer to the fact that there are connections and resources all around us waiting to be mined. After evaluating where my business leads came from, I realized that the diamonds were all around me either through a referral or from a relationship that I had developed.
Yes, a good business relationship is synonymous with the brilliance of a diamond, it will shine throughout your business in the form of referrals and profit. The true source of new business prospects and profit really is just a relationship away for you!
So, the big question is if this sounds simple and your business can grow from developing relationships, why isn’t it being done more amongst business owners? The answer is simple – it’s because we don’t always understand the intrinsic value and benefits of developing these relationships.
When small business owners first start their businesses, they are in what I call their “dream stage.” They have a tendency to mock what they think or see a successful business as being however, they lack the true understanding of why it is being done. For example, most small business owners pass out business cards, flyers or brochures and wait for the business to come – as though the mere existence of their business will have customers begging for their product or service. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.
This same thinking pattern is also transferred into the networking scene. Business owners go to countless business meetings and events and throw their business cards around as though they were playing a card game. Then they leave and wait for the business to come to them or miraculously knock on their proverbial door. However, they soon learn (or realize) business is not coming and they tend to blame it on the networking event, instead of the fact that they didn’t do anything (or enough) to actually develop new relationships.
So, below are some ideas on how to build relationships and mine the diamonds in your own backyard.
Know How to Build a Solid Business Relationship
Just passing out your business card won’t do! After receiving someone’s contact information, be the first to call the individual for a second introduction. Politely ask for a meeting over coffee or lunch to learn more about how you can help each other. This is the first powerful step in creating a relationship that could turn successful for both parties as you will have each other’s undivided attention without the distraction of others. It’s the perfect situation. Now, all you have to do is begin to nurture the relationship and learn and intently listen for how you can help the other person grow their business. This will take time and many conversations with them.
At the conclusion of your first meeting, send a quick thank you email or card along with some suggestions on how you believe you can be of assistance to them (or help each other.) Be aware that they might not need your services or products right away. However, that’s okay because you are in this for the long haul, right?
Next, make sure you have a way to keep your new contacts in front of you. This could be in the way of an e-newsletter, sending out a monthly brochure or text message or just by giving them a call once or a month or so. Also, remember to index them properly in your Contacts list or contact management system. This way you can refer new and existing contacts to them as the need arises.
Get There Early (Be on Time!)
Make it a habit to be on time to your networking and one-on-one meetings. It shows you respect their time. Also, arriving early gives you time to find a parking space, a table inside the establishment as well as a few minutes to prepare without feeling rushed. On the other hand, arriving late for a one-on-one meeting with someone you believe may be in a position to advance your career or business, can give the wrong impression and start off your meeting on the wrong foot. Finally, keep in mind, some people are a stickler for time, while others will not hold it against you.
Be Willing to Give – Bless Others!
Three important steps in building a solid business relationship is 1) to show a genuine interest in the other person’s business, 2) be willing to listen, and 3) be willing to give as much as you receive.
A one-ended relationship will give you a one-ended result! If your only reason for developing a relationship with someone is to get business from them or always receive referrals – you still don’t understand what a business relationship is!
If you meet someone and you’re not impressed or have a good feeling about what they do or if it conflicts with your values – don’t push the relationship! It’s not worth the business to go against your values.
If you decide that this person is someone you would be interested in developing a relationship with then you must be willing to give that person referrals, make suggestions and even show concern about the well-being of their business. From time to time you might even want to send them newspaper or magazine clippings, or email articles that might be of interest to them.
Follow-up and Trust
“Say what you mean and mean what you say.” If you have made a promise to provide information, a proposal, referral or other resources, P-L-E-A-S-E do so! Not doing so can cause a lack of trust and set you back in developing the relationship.
Great conversation and excitement while networking can sometimes cause you to talk about a new company service or product, or promise a resource before it’s ready to be given. In other words, many business owners have a habit of “putting the cart before the horse” and promising information or resources that are not yet ready or available to them and then they forget what they promised. This is bad business. If necessary, bite your tongue before you make promises you can’t fulfill.
Commit to Developing at Least Three New Relationships per Week
It’s difficult to determine how many new relationships to develop weekly, however, you must have a measuring tool or else you won’t achieve your goals. If you go to at least one networking event per week, you’ll have plenty of people to talk to and to discover whether or not they are compatible with you.
Find Your Diamonds!
Remember, it takes time to build trust and develop a true and real business relationship. Don’t rush it and most of all, don’t think you have to go far to do it.
Now, go back through your contact list, database, look at the business cards laying around in your office, go back through your local community papers, look at the phone calls or emails you forget to respond to and you’ll find your diamonds – I bet you’re richer than you think!
About the Author
Trina Newby is a Business Consultant and Success Coach. She is also the CEO and Founder of Women About Biz. Visit today at https://www.womenaboutbiz.net/.