My dad isn’t a business man; nor have I ever heard him say the word “networking”.
In fact, if he ever reads this, he’ll probably crack a joke and pick on me for writing this.
The truth is, however, when it comes to relationship building, I can’t think of anyone who does it better.
Here are a few things I’ve picked up from him over the years that can be used to build and develop a meaningful business relationship with someone.
A good business relationship goes beyond social media
My dad doesn’t have any online “social” profiles. It’s just not his thing, I guess.
The interesting thing, though, is that when I think of people who I consider good at relationship building, none of them really have much of an online presence, nor would any of them consider themselves “good relationship builders”. But yet, all it takes is one call and people are more than happy to help them in any way they can.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily discredit social media as an effective tool for communicating and relationship building; in most cases, it should almost always be a component of a company’s overall marketing and sales process.
Here are a few ways that good relationship builders tend to use social media:
- It’s not about business – out of the individuals who I consider good relationship builders, I’ve never heard any of them mention anything business or work-related on their social profiles. When they do interact, it’s never about themselves.
- It’s only a stepping stone – in most cases, building good relationships requires actual interaction at some point. Good relationship builders tend to use social media as an introduction. Once they’ve come in contact with someone, they tend to connect with them outside of the social networks as well.
- It’s a way to listen – as with any relationship, building business relationships requires that you listen more than you speak. Good relationship builders use social media as a way to listen more than they speak.
“Unimportant” people are actually the most important
As humans we have this weird thing where we categorize people into a social hierarchy; only to engage with those more socially acceptable than ourselves.
The funny thing is, how far will this flattery actually get you?
As you can see, my Klout score isn’t really all that impressive. Mostly because I don’t care much about it.
Side Note: I think Klout is a pretty cool concept….just don’t base your self worth on it 🙂
A while back I did an experiment in which I tried to engage with several individuals who had a Klout score higher than mine. While this resulted in my Klout score shooting up into the 60’s, I was never really able to connect with those individuals in a meaningful way.
On the other hand, I have actually interacted with and connected with quite a few individuals with Klout scores equal to or lower than mine. These relationships have resulted in very tangible benefits and even on-going business for both parties.
The thing that my dad, and other good relationship builders are great at is making people feel important regardless of who they are. They don’t think in terms of Klout score and they have no interest in playing politics.
They simply see people as opportunities to give rather than opportunities to get.
Building great business relationships requires that you get pass the initial superficial “acquaintance” layer and connect on a more human level.
This doesn’t have to be extravagant, just genuine. Here are a few small gestures that can make a big impact:
- Call and check in with business acquaintances every now and then and take note of any opportunities where you could possibly help.
- If a person (or someone they know who you’ve been introduced to) gets sick or hurt, go see them and offer to help take care of any tasks they’re unable to do.
- This one seems a bit dramatic but let’s say someone you know has been laid off from their job. If you believe in their capabilities, go and offer to be a reference for them on their next job application.
Give without expecting a return
As with any relationship, helping people is a great way to build meaningful business relationships.
Of course, sometimes it can be difficult to do this. It goes back to your mindset.
The best way to go about this, in my opinion, is to simply put yourself in their shoes. Your actions don’t necessarily have to be anything extravagant.
As they say “it’s the little things that matter”; the same is true for business relationships.
Always deliver on your promise
Of course, relationship building is more than just a one time thing. To build a meaningful business relationship you’ll have to continually work at making things better.
As with a few of the examples above, this doesn’t necessarily have to be over the top to be effective:
- If you tell someone you’ll call them, make sure you call them on time and well prepared.
- Be aware of unspoken promises. For example, if your company has continually helped some other company in in the past, simply stopping that action could result in distrust from the other company. Be aware of what you are delivering and always come through on that promise.
- If for some reason you think you won’t be able to deliver on your promise, call the person ahead of time and make them aware of the situation. In the background, work your tail off to try and make things happen on time.
Remember, if lose people’s trust, you’ll face an up hill climb to regain that trust.
There you have it, a few things my dad taught me about building meaningful business relationships.
At the end of the day, business is human. The same things that are effective for building personal relationships are effective for building business relationships; all it takes is a little time and effort.
What are some ways that you’ve been able to building meaningful business relationships?