At the office we consistently talk about the importance of fostering solid business relationships, and how they are no different than the relationships we develop in our personal and social lives. There are certainly good times to develop business relationships, and absolutely bad times as well. Here’s some quick tips on how you can foster positive business relationships and drive your business forward.
Start by establishing who you want to develop a relationship with, perform some research on the individual via social media or your current network and see if you know someone else you can use as a referral. This way, when you approach the individual you will already know something about them.
Business isn’t about telling people about yourself, it’s not about you at all! Ask the individual the right questions. Ask them questions until they are tired of answering and then proceed with answering their questions. Plus, all the questions you ask them initially will help you to know if continuing to develop the relationship will be worthwhile. You may find that you have a lot in common, or nothing at all. But that’s okay, even if you don’t hit it off you can refer that person to someone else who may be a better fit for them.
Once you establish a connection, re-connect with them and follow-up to see if they are still interested in fostering the relationship. Try not to show up unexpectedly, unless you are really well acquainted. There is little difference in going on personal dates and collaborating with other business professionals (other than the physical expectations of courting another person). You find similarities, ask important questions, work together, build trust, and genuinely care about the other business professional. If your goal is something other than working together to support one another, you should probably try another type of business.