5 Keys to Establishing & Cultivating Quality Business Relationships
So today I wanted to share 5 key strategies to assist you in establishing and cultivating quality relationships so that people have the experience of being REALLY happy they know you, and not hesitating for a second to help you out in return.
1. Be Strategic
Know who the movers and shakers are and find ways to get in close proximity to them. Who are the leaders in your community? The decision makers? The connectors? If possible, research who they are and what they’re interested ahead of time, so that you can make a strong first impression. We all know that you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression!
2. Make an Impact
Have courage and introduce yourself. Or even better, if you have a mutual connection and it’s someone they respect, have that person make the introduction. This will create an opening and establish instant credibility and rapport.
If you’re introducing yourself online, don’t just send a quick friend request to their social media sites ~ ask compelling questions that show you have an interest in what they’re working on and make the conversation exciting and engaging. I highly recommend sending them a personal video introduction. This way they don’t just read what you have to say that’s important and valuable, but they hear you, see you, and feel your energy and passion. They see that you’ve put effort in to this and are willing to differentiate yourself from the masses.
And most important, if you do get the chance to connect in person, maintain your composure and confidence, stand tall, give a firm handshake (yes, even you women!), make eye contact, smile ….. and approach each contact as if it is the beginning of a long-term, high-value relationship. Because this could be the most important contact you ever make! So expect great things, and do everything you can to make your time with them memorable.
3. Find Out What’s Important to Them
Ask high-mileage questions. I have found that a question expressing your genuine interest in their current projects and passions is one of the very best places to start. Find out what keeps them awake at night …. what has them face each day with the energy and enthusiasm that you found so attractive and had you wanting to connect.
Here are a few of my favorites rapport building questions to get you started:
- What is the most important project you are currently involved in, in case I or someone I know can be a resource to you?
- Who is your perfect customer/ partner in case I can refer you business?
- What has been the biggest challenge of you career and who helped you?
- What do you do for fun when you are not doing _________?
- Have you had any mentors? If yes ~ What was the most valuable lesson you learned from them?
- What is most important to you personally and in business?
Get creative, actively listen and take mental notes, and then be sure to write them down as soon as you can after the conversation!
4. Help Them Get What They Want
To truly set yourself apart as a person worthy of long-term connection and relationship, it is critical that you do your part to help both of you benefit from this new relationship. And the best way for you to get what you want, is to help them get what they want!
You’ve asked the important, high-mileage questions, and now it’s time to see how you can assist them in furthering their mission. Who do you know that can solve a problem they might be facing or complete a project they’re working on faster or more effectively? Do you know someone that fits their description of their ideal contact? If you didn’t ask these questions, you are missing out on a gem of relationship building! In my experience, being a connector is one of the very best way to demonstrate your value, and have people remembering you and wanting to assist you with your projects and passions in return.
Hint: The more organized you are with your contacts and resources, the easier it is to be a great connector! 🙂
5. Establish a Consistent and Meaningful Follow-Up System
I wrote a post a while back called The Fortune Really IS in the Follow Up, and you might want to check that out to learn the very telling statistics about the power of follow-up. If after reading them you are not doing everything in your power to create a system for following up, then you must not want to succeed, because there are not many people doing it, which makes this a critical place for you to shine!
People need to believe in you and know that their money, time, energy, etc. will be well spent. It’s a process of establishing trust and credibility, and this means that you must be consistent in your communications. Consistent in frequency, consistent in the value you have to offer, and consistent in your desire to champion THEIR mission.
Personally, I use multiple avenues for follow up, including email, autoresponders, skype, telephone and social media. My favorite method is video email, because of the distinct power behind video communication. Video creates a level of connection and authenticity that is often lost in simple text or audio messages, and because it lends itself to multiple communication styles, you have a much higher likelihood of being remembered. This is why I suggested this as both a great initial contact method, and for follow-up as well. 🙂
The bottom line is that it’s not just what you know, but who you know, that can vastly influence your success in business. So taking time to establish and cultivate quality relationships is, without a doubt, one of the most productive uses of your time and energy.
I’d love to hear from you, what is your favorite relationship building strategy? Leave me a message in the comments, and of course, if you’ve benefited from this post, be sure to use the buttons at the top to share around the various social sites!