I recently attended a digital marketing conference (can you guess which one? LOL!) and one of the biggest takeaways for me was that business isn’t about SELLING, it’s about creating RELATIONSHIPS. It can be difficult to figure out how to get started with this very important task.
Start Looking At Your Business Relationships as an Investment
- You put in (deposit) time, support, constructive feedback.
- You get out (withdraw) opportunities and ideas.
- To keep your relationship healthy, you want to be sure you make an effort to make more deposits than withdrawals.
- There is a mutually beneficial value created.
Where To Find People to Build Business Relationships
- Meetup Groups
- LinkedIn and Facebook Groups
- Online Forums and Communities
Potentially, anyone you meet could be a valuable contact. Maybe they don’t need your services but they probably know someone who does.
To illustrate the point, let me tell you about Bart (not his real name). Bart worked for WidgetCo (well, close enough).
- Bart’s license plate was “WDGTCO”.
- Bart’s shirts all had the WidgetCo logo on them.
- The pen that Bart used to sign all his paperwork and write checks? WidgetCo logo on the pens.
- If there was a party, Bart brought cookies with the WidgetCo logo on them or a cake decorated with the WidgetCo logo.
- Bart worked WidgetCo into every conversation I ever had with him. But not in a “salesy” or obnoxious way. It just always seemed that whatever issues someone was having, it could be solved in some manner by WidgetCo.
It’s been over 25 years since I last saw Bart. But, I remember that his goal was that everyone would remember his name if they ever needed WidgetCo products.
The lesson here is that you should love what you do as much as Bart loved WidgetCo; and invite the people you come into contact with to build a relationship with you (and by extension, your business). Maybe they don’t need what it is you have TODAY, but make the association pleasant so when they, or someone they know, need what you have, you’ll be the first person they call.
How many times have you been going about your day and come across something that makes you think “You know, that woman I met at the conference and got a card from was talking about needing something like this”. What an opportunity to build a relationship! Call or send a quick email – not because you want something, not because you want to sell them something, but to share something that might hold value for them. That’s relationship-building GOLD.
Final tip (for this post, anyway) – if you have the opportunity to meet people you’ve previously had online-only relationships with face-to-face – TAKE IT.
You’ve already got the foundation for a great relationship, so solidify that strategic alliance over coffee or lunch. Even if you don’t have a project to work on together right now, making the investment almost always pays off. Maybe not in a way you imagined but you can enjoy the dividends of a great business relationship investment for years to come.
How do you feel? It’s time to go get busy networking and building business relationships!
What relationship building tips have worked for you? Share below.