If you have spent more than a few weeks in sales, then you have hopefully learned two valuable lessons about business relationships and networking:
1. There’s no correlation between your sales figures and the number of business cards you hand out.
2. Similarly, there’s no connection between your sales figures and the number of contacts on your LinkedIn profile.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with business cards or LinkedIn. Both can be great tools to help you expand your professional network. However, building better relationships in business is all about cultivation.
While training and consulting sales teams and executive leaders, it’s all too often that we run into business professionals who put a focus on contacts, not on relationships. Truly successful businesspeople don’t have a mountain of contacts whose names they barely know. Rather, they have a carefully developed and cultivated portfolio of relationships.
How to Develop Better Relationships
Are you interested in developing better business relationships?
- Listen to people and probe them with questions.Don’t do all of the talking, and definitely don’t tune out the person who’s talking to you.
- Be honest and forthright with new contacts. Don’t misrepresent yourself or your business just to make a new contact. Relationships built on lies go nowhere – fast!
- Give more than you receive. Business relationships aren’t a 50/50 deal. Each party should be willing to give more in order to hit the payoff.
- Be personal in your business relationships. Sure, ultimately you’re trying to make the sale. But people are people – even in business (or especially in business).
Why Build These Relationships?
No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll probably find this maxim to be true: People want to do business with the people they like and know. It’s a basic fact of life. An unknown company’s small discount or slightly better product is rarely going to take a client away from you if you have a strong business relationship with your client.
Also, good business relationships make for a richer, more enjoyable career for you and the people on your team.
So what are you waiting for? What will you do to build better business relationships?