A business owner has to wear a number of hats, and he is very often the most visible face of his group. As an owner, it is important not to be sheltered and go out and build a strong network comprising of contacts from your own business domain. In business, the key to success is to build lasting business relationships which can go beyond temporary meetings and one-off projects. Successful networking is one of the keys to have business contacts think of you first whenever they have any requirement.
Here are 10 useful tips to help you build strong business relations with clients, business partners, associates, employees and other people you need for the growth and sustenance of your organisation.
Always be your authentic self. Be the person you really are and also accept your business relations for what they are. Do not end up projecting a false personality, particularly online. This is not the proper way to establish a relationship. The relation will be a temporary one when you begin to qualify companies and individuals. Look for companies and people you feel naturally connected to, and have easy communication with. Your relationships can be accelerated by maintaining honest point of view, personality and beliefs.
Anytime a business relation changes his profession or gets promoted to a higher level, do not forget to congratulate the person or organisation. Ask about the change with a congratulatory note. You can use this chance to talk about various other matters and also brief the person about your own business status.
Personalise the links you send
There are times when you find something online that your contact might like too, such as an article, a news feed, a blog post etc. You can send it to the person, with a small note about why you feel it could be interesting or useful for him. However, do not end up sending a lot of links to the same individual.
Send something by mail
The good old-fashioned mail is not yet out, and people like to have something delivered to them by post or courier. Although emails are the current rage, sending even a handwritten note by mail will make the gesture stand out. Plus, every time your contact sees the physical copy he will be reminded of you. You can send a magazine or books that might interest your contact. Mail it to him with a small note that expresses why you are sending it.
Connect on social media
The social media has become an easy way to connect with your business contacts and mix socially, at least virtually. You can occasionally share, like and comment on blog posts and articles. Do not engage or comment only when you would like to get their attention. In this way, when you meet up, you can easily be remembered from prior interactions.
Meet up in person at times with your local contacts to dine or have drinks together. Although this is impossible with remote contacts, you might meet up together during vacations or business trips to their cities. While networking, offer some valuable information which would make you worthwhile for them. Do not just waste time in useless gossips and irrelevant news which are not useful for your contacts or their businesses. Be worthwhile for them and become reliable.
Offer professional leads
Anytime you hear of anything important, inform about the same to those in your business network. Move beyond just referrals and jobs, and encompass everything from special projects to writing assignments, speaking opportunities, board positions, committees and more. If you feel comfortable, you can also offer an introduction.
Schedule brainstorming sessions
Take out some time from business and schedule specific hours to meet up and brainstorm together. It is ideal to set a regular time and set specific agenda and a time limit to achieve what you wish to do. Allow some time for sudden decisions.
Plan fun activities together
Your relationships should not be based only on business, but fun as well. You should go out and have some fun together when none of you are working. Meet up at community events, entertainment, art or music events, and show the fun side of your personality. Some fun, laughter and memorable conversations can make the relationships stronger.
Always meet your deadlines
Never flinch from the deadlines that you have agreed to deliver on. By sticking to deadlines again and again, you can get the trust of your contacts – this is especially the case with clients and business partners. When you commit to a deadline, you provide the contact with freedom from the worry that a project might not be prepared or delivered within time. Being serious to the deadline will help you to build a strong relationship based on trust.