Everyone wants to experience functional, healthy relationships, so why should your approach be any different in business? Lasting, authentic business relationships don't happen without putting in the real work. Relationship building is essential to networking, establishing your reputation and closing deals.
Here are 4 ways to create strong and lasting business relationships:
1. Be Authentic.
Keep it Real. It seems pretty simple - right? So many people underestimate the value of just being themselves and accepting others for who they are. In this digital age, it's fairly easy for people to validate facts that you've shared about yourself through your online presence. Make sure you match up with the person you are trying to sell to get that next opportunity or promotion.
2. Identify Shared Values & Connections.
Find your tribe, your peeps, the network, or the folks who share your passion by surrounding yourself with people with the same interests and values. It’s no secret that we tend to feel more comfortable around others who share our goals. The quickest way to accelerate any relationship is to establish similarities, but respect the differences too.
When you are researching a company to work for or looking for that next client, make sure their values match with yours. Do they give back to the community, do they care about the environment? Check out their social media platforms or website to really dig deep to see if they are a good fit.
3. Nurture Relationships.
Just like anything that grows, you must water, feed and nurture your relationships. Make time to create experiences and opportunities to help your relationships grow. Nurturing relationships helps you build trust and consistency. Spending time, whether it's inviting someone to lunch, grabbing a cup of coffee or watching sporting events helps to establish a better comfort level. Especially now, when it may be difficult to interact in person, call and check on others. Schedule a bi-weekly call, video chat or send a card to see how your contacts are doing, since most people are working from home.
4. Give Referrals.
The greatest compliment you can give is a referral. Be thoughtful and intentional in connecting with people who may be a good fit your network or someone you know. Not all referrals work out, but the notion that you valued them enough to refer them will not go unnoticed.
Remember that connection is key! It does take a greater effort to build and to maintain relationships in a virtual world, but people will be grateful and hopefully return the favor.