Relationships are the Foundation of All Business Development

By now, many people know I have a mantra about relationships.  Perhaps it’s a philosophy, a dream or even a rant… but to me, life is all about relationships. Whether you are building new friendships or new business, relationships matter… a lot.  They are the foundation of everything we know as a human race.  That’s a lofty thought and so today I want to think about relationships within the context of developing business.

Building, maintaining and supporting relationships should be at the core of all business development efforts. I firmly believe that if you keep people’s emotions and needs at the core of your strategy, you will be successful. Some of you may be saying “yea, but what about me!?”  Don’t worry, I am not suggesting you leave yourself out of the equation. Your relationship with yourself is a very important one that needs to be maintained. But for today, here are a few tips for crafting your external relationships:

  • Be Trustworthy. Relationships are based on trust. Be available as a resource and always come from a position of helpfulness.  Do what you say you are going to do and never leave anyone in a lurch.
  • Be Helpful and Provide Personal Insight. Don’t be self-centered or afraid of giving your own point of view on an issue. Be open minded to other people’s ideas and don’t get offended if people do not take your advice. In a nutshell, be real and reasonable.
  • Provide Value. There are many ways to provide value. Bring helpful information about trends to the table, alert them to thoughtfully written articles, bring experienced perspective on business issues, or simply donate 30 minutes of your time to help them resolve a problem. Whatever you do, be genuine and don’t expect anything in return.
  • Be Personable. People want to work with people that get the job done, but they also like to work with people they enjoy being around. Allow for a certain level of personal connection and let them know who you are, what makes you tick and how you may best support them.
  • Keep in Touch. Staying top of mind is important, but you don’t overwhelm with too much communication. That threshold is different for different individuals. Feel out what they need and give them enough space between interactions, and gently re-appear on the scene. Mix it up and use social media, emails, phone calls and personal notes as a means to keep in touch.

There are myriad ways to build, maintain and support relationships of all degrees.  But perhaps most importantly, if you keep the interests of other people at the center of your strategy for business development, you will find deep satisfaction on top of success. Honest, open-minded and helpful relationships will always benefit both individuals and add a pleasant experience along the way.