5 Tips on Building Lasting Business Relationships
Historically, “business networking” has been synonymous with “disingenuous,” “spammy,” and “overly salesy.” If networking, whether virtually or in person, makes you uneasy, it’s time to rethink your reasons for building a professional network.
In this post, we’re sharing a few ways that being authentically yourself can create and nurture business relationships that are valuable, long-lasting, and real.
How Establishing Authentic Business Relationships Can Elevate Your Career
1. Identify Common Values and Goals
Finding common ground is a great place to build a connection with someone, in business as well as personally. Whether you’re trying to build your business network or establish rapport with a lead, sharing common values and goals can create many open-ended conversations and can be the foundation for a mutually-beneficial business relationship.
These values can be personal and you can share career, business, and personal goals as well. Finding common ground through mutual aspirations can create an easy bond with someone, despite just meeting and really only knowing their name.
2. Treat Them Like Friends and Family
Try to recall an interaction you’ve had in the past with someone in your network. Were they overly formal, or perhaps too casual? Either end of the spectrum may have discouraged you from keeping in touch with that person, and you certainly wouldn’t do business with them.
Treating business contacts like friends or family simply means you are respectful, friendly, and open. Be yourself, share some vulnerable moments if you can, and make sure you express interest in their success, not just your own.
3. Focus on Quality, Not Quantity
You may have thousands of LinkedIn connections without ever having one meaningful conversation or follow-up. What good are thousands of strangers to you, and vice-versa? Focus on building quality, genuine relationships with like-minded people, regardless of what industry they work in or if you can benefit from the connection.
You never know where your career will take you, or where others’ will take them. Even if you can’t work together currently, you don’t know where you’ll be in five years. Pursue relationships that feel authentic, and put less weight on your follower count.
4. Find Ways to Create Value
Say you’re just getting started in your career and you’re looking to immerse yourself in the professional community in your area. Weigh your strengths and values, and offer your services to those in your network.
For example, say you’re a freelance writer looking to find clients in a new industry you haven’t worked in yet. If someone in your professional network has a need for content, offer up some articles pro-bono to get your name out there and advertise the diversity of your writing chops.
5. Be Vulnerable
We, as humans, crave authenticity and feeling like we aren’t alone in our struggles. If you’re facing a challenge at work and need guidance, try reaching out to your professional network and ask for input. Use discretion and share your efforts and feelings, then ask for their thoughts.
Showing a vulnerable side in an environment where most people prefer to share their triumphs is bold and will likely turn some heads. Receiving help from a business contact, whether online or in-person, will create a connection between the two of you. In return, they may reach out to you for advice, so be sure to stay in touch!
Discover How StayTouch Simplifies Business Networking
There are plenty of business networking tools out there, but they lack the innovation to maintain any sort of meaningful relationship past the initial interaction of, “Hello! Thanks for connecting.”
StayTouch is a smart networking app that allows you to build and cultivate your own professional network from your smartphone. Combining relationship management with modern digital networking, StayTouch is connecting business professionals all around the world through seamless interactions.