When you started your first business, what ran through your mind? Did you think about all of the people you could help? The difference your product, program, or service would make? The money you’d rake in? Were you excited about the prospect of not talking to people as much?
You’d be surprised how many people think they can start a business, and tuck away their interpersonal skills because they don’t enjoy – nor are they particularly good at – interacting with others.
Business is all about relationships. How you nurture those relationships is a strong indicator of how fast your business will grow. There are several kinds of business relationships you may need to nurture:
- Employees and Freelancers
- Strategic Partners (Joint Venture and/or Referral Partners)
- Supply Chain (Suppliers, vendors, warehouses, transport companies, distribution centers, retailers)
- Media Contacts
- Target Audience
Therefore, you’ll need to employ methods that will support you in the growth of all of these relationships and provide a strong foundation for relating to other people in ways that you might not have thought about before.
Here’s a look at a few quick tips to help you push past the angst of building business relationships.
3 ways to build better business relationships
1. Send birthday greetings
Birthdays are important. When you wish someone a happy birthday, you’re celebrating their existence in the world and their presence in your life. It’s the one day of the year where people have the opportunity to bask in the gratitude, love, and appreciation that other people feel toward them.
However, you want to make sure you do birthday greetings right. A generic, “Happy Birthday!” that looks like it was sent from your autoresponder is not going to cut it. Instead, include something personal you’ve talked about, experienced together, or noticed about them. Don’t phone this in.
Keep notes on your people. You can use a cloud-based CRM tool to make special notes for each business contact or use an informal notes app.
Take note of specific things like the names of their spouse and/or children, their goals, hobbies, activities they like, unique traits, etc. Then mention some of these things in your happy birthday message. This shows you’re paying attention, you value your relationship, and that you’ve put some genuine thought behind your birthday greeting.
Here’s an example of a basic vs. thoughtful birthday message:
“Happy Birthday, Anita! I hope you have an amazing day! You deserve it!”
“Happy Birthday, Anita! I saw the birthday cards Nick & Sarah made for you—so cute! I hope you have a great night with Doug, and maybe get in another screening of the Avengers. I’m going to be over here celebrating your epicness with a mini-Captain Marvel-cupcake [insert mini-cupcake picture].”
That difference is huge, right? One sounds like everyone else they’re going to hear from on Facebook, while the other feels personal, like a real celebration.
2. Have fun and laugh more
Sometimes in business, it’s easy to forget that relationships are meant to be fun, intriguing, and entertaining, not just mutually beneficial in a transactional way.
Telling jokes and making people laugh are great ways to build emotional bonds. It gives the other person the space to relax and be understood.
Focus your attention on the other person, actively listen, and connect with what they’re communicating to you. This simple act of focused attention can develop or nurture an emotional bond quickly, which can accelerate your relationship. This is what makes people feel like they’re the only other person in the room.
3. Create points of connection
This is where you let the other person in by practicing intentional vulnerability. Being emotionally available and aware of others is a magnetic trait because it creates space for real connections.
When you’re conversing with a prospect, client, referral partner, etc., ask about things they’re interested in and deem important. For example, “What do you like to do for fun? What was their latest Netflix binge?” These types of questions present the opportunity to find points of connection.
For instance, I have a rescue pup named Sweetsie. Whenever I meet another dog owner who also rescued their pup, there’s practically an instantaneous bond because there’s common ground. Think about when you meet someone who’s into the same books, movies, board games, or jokes you are—both of you feel understood by the other person, and it gives you the space to let your walls down a little.
The more points of connection you build, the fewer walls there are to climb over because they’re letting you in the front door.
Profitable business relationships are built on trust, respect, and connection. The methods mentioned above are some of the fastest, most powerful, and most authentic ways to make that happen.
Erin Addesso is a best-selling author, success coach, and sales consultant, working with business owners, companies, and corporations to develop a powerful presence, resulting in higher closing rates, more referrals, and increased profits, using the Hustle Playbook Method™. Erin’s work is trusted by brands such as Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation, Loan Depot, MegaStar Financial Corporation, Coldwell Banker, and more. She uses her over 20 years of experience in leadership, sales, and cutting edge marketing techniques, to create more automated streams of income, develop a growing pipeline of highly qualified leads, and attract top-notch clientele, so you can increase your profitability and reach while actually having days off and not being attached to your phone 24/7. Erin’s work has also been featured in publications and media outlets such as The Scotsman Guide.
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