Why we must pay more attention to building relationships

relationships matter

In business and in life, relationships matter, which is why we must pay more attention to building relationships.

It is said that business is about relationships and I reckon it’s difficult to grow a business without strong relationships. Relationships with your staff, with your customers, with your prospects and with your suppliers.

So what is it about relationships that have the potential to create so much joy and yet people fear the outcome and remain an introvert. Why don’t people who deal with the public put relationships as the focus for each day? A smile, a courtesy, a thank you.

I was recently talking with somebody new to business who realises that the basis of business is relationships. She was fearful of taking a business forward because she admitted that she didn’t know how to create relationships. The sort of person who avoids networking events for instance.

Perhaps she thinks this is something complicated. Certainly, a lack of confidence or low self-esteem will have an impact on the way we are approach talking to people.

I’ve found some simple truths that allow me to create rapport with most people and the start of a relationship with many.

Abandon the agenda.
This is especially prevalent at a networking meeting but not so much in the supermarket queue. Enter into conversations out of genuine interest and curiosity. All too often at networking meetings, I come across people who put up a facade of being engaged yet, in reality, they are not listening – simply waiting to speak. They have an agenda and it’s easy to guess what it is after a few minutes. Good conversationalists ditch the agenda and make the other person feel that they are the only person in the room.

Be interested
… rather than interesting. Be genuinely interested in who you are talking with. When I see someone with a supermarket trolly full of party food and drink my first thought is that maybe they’re having a party. It’s easy to say, ‘looks like someone is in for a good party.’ It’s easy to engage people if you are interested and you stay curious.

Thank You
… goes a long way and especially when people least expect it. Showing appreciation is good practice for developing relationships. We all love to feel appreciated and the biggest reason customers become ex-customers rarely has anything to do with price or the competition. They feel they are being taken for granted.

When was the last time you spoke to your best clients and showed some appreciation? OK, a challenge if you have few hundred, but what’s stopping you getting your virtual PA or a telemarketer to schedule the calls. Let’s not say it can’t be done – find a way.

Relationships matter.

rebecca crossRebecca Cross is an Award Winning Virtual PA. Her background experience working with IBM and the Wall Street Journal provides invaluable experience. She specialises in providing creative business and administration support for entrepreneurs and business owners who understand the value of working on their business, rather than in their business. She is especially looking to work with business start-ups, entrepreneurs, and professionals who travel extensively.
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Networking Heroes Never Make This Mistake

Networking reputations are in the spotlight at every networking event you attend. Make sure you don’t make this one big mistake.

We know that personal reputation is hard won, easily thrown away. So why do people think so little of their reputation that they dilute it each time they pass a lead.

Let me put this in perspective. If someone was to pass you lead at a networking event you would be pleasantly surprised and possibly, get excited. However, in my view, at a referral meeting like BNI (Business Network International), it could be seen as the lazy option and actually destroy your reputation.

Unlike ordinary networking meetings, BNI focuses on qualified referrals (personal introductions). When you receive a referral at a BNI meeting you can reasonably be assured that a) the person you are being introduced to known to be in the market for your product or service and b) they are looking forward to your meeting in anticipation (maybe excitement).

I don’t know about you, but if someone gives me an introduction based on this criteria, it’s something to be excited about. A genuine opportunity to do business and my reputation has been expanded upon by the person making the introduction.

A lead is merely the passing on of a name we ‘think’ might be an opportunity. Three important elements are missing. a) neither of us knows for sure if the person is in the market for my services b) they are not expecting my call c) they know nothing about me as the person making the introduction has not actually made a personal introduction.

When someone passes me a lead, especially one disguised as a referral, I make an immediate judgement on the person who has given it to me. I am either impressed with the effort they’ve made and for thinking of me or I judge the person to be either lazy or half-hearted. Experience has shown me that where a lead is concerned, a wild goose chase and frustration follows.

Someone’s reputation for trust and integrity is silently highlighted in everything we do. A hard won reputation, so easily thrown away.

My advice. Don’t pass leads, seek qualification and build your networking reputation.

rebecca crossRebecca Cross provides support for the BNI Dorset region as personal assistant to the Executive Direct, Paul Haley and as Director Consultant for a number of BNI Groups
Rebecca is also an Award Winning Virtual PA with a background experience working with IBM and the Wall Street Journal, amongst others. She specialises in providing creative business and administration support for entrepreneurs and business owners who understand the value of working on their business, rather than in their business.

She is especially looking to work with business start-ups, entrepreneurs and professionals who travel extensively  Linkedin Profile