5 Keys to Establishing & Cultivating Quality Business Relationships

We all know that people do business with people they know, like and trust.     That the value you offer is directly correlated to a person’s desire to stay connected with you over time.

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!

To Your Successful & Prosperous Relationships,

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95 Responses to “5 Keys to Establishing & Cultivating Quality Business Relationships”

  1. Hey Beth, this is a great post you got here.

    It is VERY important to connect with a lot of people, but more importantly, to create quality relationships with those whom you connect with. A connection so strong that they want to come back and talk to YOU, a FRIENDSHIP. Keep in mind, people join people, so you have to be a likable or at least genuine and valuable person. I agree with all of your points.

    One tip for those of you trying to build quality relationships: Be a great listener, be interested, not interesting. Ask great questions, and you will get great answers.

    BW
    Brandon Wraith´s last blog post ..Quit Whining!

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    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Brandon. You are absolutely right ~ and I appreciate what you’ve contributed with your comment. I loved connecting with you recently ~ definitely a quality relationship in the making! 🙂

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  2. Beth,thanks for sharing these key points for connecting with just about anyone. Most important, I believe, is our interest in finding out their passions and seeking to be of service to them. And to do so without necessarily expecting anything in return. To the degree that we serve, we will receive, even if not directly from that person.
    Steve Borgman-Personal Success Factors´s last blog post ..Check Out This Goal Setting Template For 2011 And Beyond

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    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks for visiting and sharing your thought, Steve. I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

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  3. I think its important to be genuine. I know when people approach me to network, whether online or in person, its really obvious who just wants to “pick my brain”, and who genuinely wants to develop a relationship.

    Actually, its even more obvious online, the anonymity seems to cause some people to forget basic social etiquette. You wouldn’t just walk up to a stranger in real life and ask them detailed questions about their business without introducing yourself and building a relationship first, why would you do it online??
    Jeremy Farley@Get Rid Of Yellow Toenails´s last blog post ..Is Tea Tree Oil An Effective Toenail Fungus Cure

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, it’s easy to see through people who are connecting with alterior motives. Although there’s nothing wrong with clear intentions to pick someone’s brain too….when that happens you should take it as a compliment that your thoughts were worthy of being “picked”! 🙂 As for online connections, it is interesting how many people that probably are great people and know how to connect offline seem to really miss the boat! Doesn’t make sense, but no big deal, I just ignore them because there are an extraordinary number of real, authentic people online that DO get it. Thanks for visiting, Jeremy!

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  4. Beth:

    This was an excellent post….my favorite way to ‘connect’ with others once I approach them is to offer help or support….

    Here is a list I have been working from to become a successful entrepreneur,,,
    1) Do Something…take Action!
    2)Do not just seek Help, But look to Give Help to others
    3) Be of Service to others
    4) Find a Need & then meet that need
    5) Do not just Focus on the $$, but the process

    I think your list relates well to mine,,,As Mom always instilled in us “Folks will never care How much you Know, Till they Know How much You care.”

    Be Blessed
    Matt Geib The Great

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thank you, Matt. Really great list, thanks for sharing it here! Mom always knows best! 🙂

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  5. Dear Beth,

    what a great post. indeed i consider important as a business person to more listen than talk. I met a lot of business owners that focus more on themselves or what they have to offer and do not listen to their customers so your tips are great.
    Lorie Letschert´s last blog post ..Become Successful- Overcome Your Fear

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Lorie. It is through listening that we find the answers about if/ how our services can benefit a person….and so many people seem to miss that key point. As my mom always says, “the first person who talks, loses.” Pretty much true! Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Great post, Beth! You are so right about the importance of establishing relationships and the courage to talk to people. One of the things that I learned from my House of Delegates was the need for persistence, as well as the need to shake things off. After all, there are going to be people who can’t stand you before they even know you, and you know when it is all over exactly how many people rejected you, but you have to keep going out there because you believe in what you are doing. It has definitely given me strength working through the rough patches in business.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Steve! I completely agree about persistence and shaking things off ~ in fact I wrote about both topics in one post, you can check it out in my archives, Feb. 23rd, if you’re so inspired ~ I think you’d enjoy it. 🙂 Great comment, thanks again Steve.

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  7. Hi Beth,
    Nice post. I like the one suggestion “help them get what they want” . I heard a story once that a man who was trying to connect with a “mover and a shaker” learned his son was ill and loved hockey. So this man got his son a hockey stick that was signed by famous hockey players and to make a long story short, made an incredible connection. You just never know who’s out there! Thank you, great tips!
    Lesly Federici´s last blog post ..TSA

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    bethallen Reply:

    Yes! Great story ~ it is the attention to detail and the willingness to go the extra mile to show that you listen and you care that really makes all the difference. Thanks for sharing that, glad you enjoyed this post, Lesly!

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  8. Great Advise Beth!

    I like how you concentrate as well on the follow up with people you want to count into your circle of influence. This is one of the most vital activities to get your face and message out, so that people will start asking you for advise, help or any other kind of keeping in touch with you. And it all starts to be active from your side and not just react.

    Thx for bringing more light into these five aspects of building and cultivating great relationships.

    All the best,

    Alex
    Alexander Paul´s last blog post ..How to create a Movement – A simple lesson about Leadership!

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Alex. Being active, not reactive …. yes! So important in the relationship process. Thanks for visiting, glad you enjoyed these tips!

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  9. Hi Beth,

    very helpful tips.
    I like the questions you suggest.
    Questions have helped me to feel more comfortable in social situations, since I am a much better listener than a talker.

    Helping people get what they want is also a great point and the heart of business and I am passionate about that.

    Making an impact is something I would like to be better at since promoting myself is something I would like to feel more confident in.

    Thank you so much for this great article.

    To your success!
    Yorinda
    Yorinda´s last blog post ..How to Install Love

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    bethallen Reply:

    Hi Yorinda ~ I’m glad you benefited from the questions ~ they really have been amazing resources for me in building quality relationships online. And you are right, having a few key questions to create an opening is one of the best things for helping a person feel more comfortable and confident in social settings. Just keep operating from that heart space and you will continue to make that ever-increasing impact that you’re looking for! 🙂

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  10. Hi Beth!

    Quality content from you as usual!

    Particularly compelling was the info on asking high mileage questions.

    That’s actually one of the best ways to build rapport, and I’ve found asking the types of questions with what you do helps tremendously.

    Like mirroring their body language, and echoing their ‘trance’ or most common words right back to them, with proper pauses and tonalities. Pretty deep stuff, I know. Though I’d touch on it one day on my blog!

    Yasser
    Yasser Khan´s last blog post ..Don’t Believe A Word You Read In This Post

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    I appreciate your kind words, Yasser! 🙂 Yes, asking good questions is definitely an art, as are all the mirroring techniques you mentioned. It takes some practice, but really makes a big difference in trust and rapport building. Thanks for sharing those added tips!

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  11. Hey Beth, Each point is wonderful, but I feel that #4 is important because if we go the extra mile and help them by giving them what they need, you will prove validity in the relationship.
    Often times I hear from clients “Wow, you did all that for me?” That is when I find out how they spread the word about what I do. I will get a call and someone would say to me that their friend couldn’t believe how much information I have helped them with. Can I help them too?
    Ahhh…. word of mouth! The best possible way to get a good relationship going. The rest is great but this one really stuck out.
    Thanks once again for your leadership in the industry.
    Donna Merrill

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Yes, #4 is really where the rubber meets the road. I think all 5 points need to really be rooted in this go-giver philosophy. You are definitely a shining example of that, and I appreciate your kind words and who you are in our community. Because you are truly an extraordinary woman, Donna! Thank you! 🙂

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  12. Great post Beth.I agree with you on using Video and the tools you are suggesting are the best I have seen.I agrre that the relationships we establish are very important too.Using video online is a great way to enhance development of those relationships too.
    Beverly Monical´s last blog post ..What is “The Ripple Effect”

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    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Beverly! Yes, the tools available for video communication are amazing…..and the difference they are making in people’s level of connection and authenticity in their branding and marketing is so fun to see. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

  13. Beth some great points you make here and they are all very tried, true and effective.

    My relationship strategy has changed recently.

    My strategy now is it’s not an important part of the business it is the business!

    Steve
    Steve Shoemaker´s last blog post ..The WordPress Android App My New Toy

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Steve! Love the shift in your strategy ….. because you are right on! The quality of your relationships equals the quality of your business! Great connecting with you, we need to catch up again soon! 🙂

    [Reply]

  14. Hi Beth,
    It is a very nice and informative post.Thanks for sharing the important keys to establishing cultivating quality bussiness relationship.I find this post is very helpful.
    waterpearls´s last blog post ..NortonLive PC Power Boost Coupon

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Glad you found the post informative and helpful….thanks for stopping by!

    [Reply]

  15. Hi Beth Allen,
    Great post.This is really very good and informative article. The points listed were well chosen and well explained too.Thanks .

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Thanks Shivam ~ I’m glad to you enjoyed this post! Thanks for stopping by.

    [Reply]

  16. Great post Beth! This is so true! This is a simple principle, yet so important to apply! The answer is often in being focused and consistent on these little things that can make a massive difference in our success and personal growth!

    [Reply]

  17. Hi Beth,

    In order to be a good coach and mentor, you have to make strong connections with people in the first place.

    I like the questions you suggest. They are similar to the ones I ask the first time or two that I talk to someone. Ask the right questions, and you can learn what personality type the person is… within the first minute or two of your initial conversation! That in itself goes a long way toward strong relationship building.

    Willena Flewelling
    Willena Flewelling @10 Steps to Success´s last blog post ..I Control My Thoughts

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Hi Willena ~ yes, we learn so much by asking good questions, don’t we?! I’m also a big fan of distinguishing personality types to enhance relationships ~ so much great stuff out there on the topic, and it makes connecting more fun because you can tailor your language in a way that the person will be more likely to resonate. Very cool. Thanks for visiting!

    [Reply]

  18. Beth as always, A very good and well thought out article. I loved your 5 points and agree with them 100%. I have been reading your blog each week and so I read the blog on follow up. I not only try to get my contacts what they want, I really enjoy it when I do. I am so grateful for those who try to help me to get what I need and I know that when you give, you do recieve. “Beth Make it a great week”

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    Sounds like you are a great servant leader, Ross! Helping people get what they want, loving the process, and also being open to receive in return are both so important and incredibly powerful when you master both! I’m glad you enjoyed this article, and the one on follow up. 🙂

    [Reply]

  19. It is so important to connect, there are many times you may come across an inner circle who have totally different views which is very good because you can all learn from one another.
    Dan Lew´s last blog post ..Keyword Winner 24 – Country Specific Search PageRank

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  20. All tried and true stuff Beth. The Video is probably the most important of the five. I’ve thought of giving it a try but each time back off. Old heavy man speaking in a rather strong Monotone voice is not a pretty picture. Once I tried to fool the viewer with visuals of me doing something other than communicating through the spoken word. Now if I could only get Brad Pit to do a stand in I might get some better results.

    [Reply]

    bethallen Reply:

    As always, you crack me up, Nelson. I for one would LOVE to see you on video ~ with age comes the great wisdom you always share, and to get to hear your humor rather than just read it would be awesome. So I say GO FOR IT! 🙂

    [Reply]

  21. Beth,

    You make some very valid points on how to really build a meaningful relationship in business. It is important to provide people with quality and information that they are looking for. You will want to get out there test market to see what you audience is craving. Simply economics find the demand and create the supply. Everything else will happen if executed correctly.

    [Reply]

  22. Excellent post Beth,

    It’s amazing how a lot of people will do friend requests on FB and not do anything personal. There is so much more depth and value to be had in following the guidelines you mentioned.

    I also love that the steps are simple, clear cut and sequential. By focusing on solving problems of others so that they can get what they want, it makes connecting feel so much better than a lot of traditional approaches.
    Paul Reimers@Network Marketing Online´s last blog post ..Blog Comments and SEO – Are You Rewarding Your Commentors

    [Reply]

  23. Hello Beth,

    Sadie here in France … super post really succinct and leaves the reader in no doubt building relationships is not numbers game, whereby he with the most friends wins… quite the opposite! My Facebook inbox becomes and overwhelming place at times. I’m just going to pop of and Stumble, Digg and Tweet this post 🙂
    Sadie-Michaela Harris´s last blog post ..Why Mobile Users Aren’t Checking In – With Infographic

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  24. Great.. This is such a very good and well thought out article. The strategies are helpful.This article is very well written,very clean and easy to understand.. Thanks for sharing :).

    [Reply]

  25. These are great points. Building relationships in business is important, not just connecting. Those are good questions to ask people you connect with. I like to go to their profile and find out a few details you can use in a converstation.
    Melodie Kantner´s last blog post ..Do Realize The Power In The Social Media Revolution

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  26. This is great, Beth, and I particularly love the “handshake” comment. I think a handshake is so important, and I always give a nice firm one. If I don’t get a firm one in return (and particularly from a man), I feel as if I am a bit unimportant. A handshake tells a LOT.

    Thanks for the great post!
    TK Goforth @Music Maker´s last blog post ..“You want ME to write a SONG!!!”

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  27. Phenomenal post Beth !!

    Although all of them are important, I believe #4 is the most important. We all know the saying about helping people get what they want, our success will follow.

    My favorite relationship building strategy is offering people my time freely and my expertise in business development. This is my way of giving back to people by providing them tips to improve their business.

    Really enjoyed this post, thanks 🙂

    [Reply]

  28. Hello Beth

    You have given five solid keys for establishing & cultivating quality business relationships. I discovered key #3 when I read Bob Burg’s book Endless Referrals. In chapter 2 he gives ten networking questions that work every time.They are not designed to be probing or sales-oriented in any way.

    Thanks

    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City
    Perry A Davis Jr´s last blog post ..Network Marketers! What is your most important tool

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  29. Very well said,I agree with you,when it comes to business,it’s also like a relationship between a men and a woman,it requires a trust to be more strong.Such a nice post,well discuss,I get a lot of ideas and insights.All the 5 keys are very helpful.I’m pretty sure I can use all of these,right now I’m in the field that requires a knowledge in business so i really appreciate this.Thanks.

    [Reply]

  30. Hey Beth!

    True wisdom and information about connecting instead of pitching.

    You know, most new networkers rarely possess the ability to connect and listen. That’s why I really like your posting.

    Not only do you really express a simple method to the madness, but with the proper use of discipline and dedication, a virtually newbie in this industry can really learn to posture themselves for true success.

    Thanks putting this together. I foresee you forwarding this powerful posting to those team makes (who you attract) to learn from.
    Dereck´s last blog post ..5 Simple Ways To Make Your First Dollar Online

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  31. Love that you wrote about this topic Beth!

    I believe the one tip that sticks out in my mind that you wrote about in this article is when you brought up about connecting via video. What a strong connection indeed when face to face is not yet possible.

    And I really appreciate you sharing with us your favorite rapport building questions. It’ll help us to get our juices flowing when speaking with our new friend. I can already see how asking questions such as those leads to great opportunities and lasting friendships!

    Thanks for this awesome article Beth!

    Love the topics you cover and can’t wait to read your next one!

    -Jaclyn Castro
    Jaclyn Castro´s last blog post ..A New Understanding of Sponsoring &amp How to Make It Work for You

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  32. Hi Beth:

    These are excellent strategies. For me #5 is my favourite. I believe it is critical to be in constant touch with those we serve.

    Kevin
    Kevin Martineau´s last blog post ..The road to hell is paved with good intentions

    [Reply]

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