11 steps to build great business relationships

The importance of business relationships cannot be overemphasized. in fact ‘who you know is more important than what you know’ in business. A lot more important.

That simple and innocent-looking advice is worth a million dollars. In fact, it should be written with fire across the sky or better yet, be carved on your office wall with pure gold.

Having the right link is essential to your success in the business world, especially if you plan to be extremely successful. I cannot possibly agree more with Robert Kiyosaki when he said; ‘your network determines your net worth’! What a legend.

Building a strong relationship is easy and at the same time, it could be difficult. So here are some practical, actionable tips to build great business relationships.

1. Keep Up With People

It sounds basic, but we’re starting to forget how to do it. You are going to have to maintain your relationships. If you don’t talk to someone for months, you’ll fall off their radar, or they may not immediately jump at the chance to help you when you finally reach out to them and ask.

Keep some records of who you have networked with and check in on them often. If they’re online contacts on a digital network, keep your conversations going. If they’re colleagues or people with whom you’ve swapped business cards, send an email or make a call every month or so. Check-in and say ‘hello’. If you tend to forget to make – or worse, return calls or emails, use a task management system or calendar to remind you to call or write.

2. Business Relationship Is Based On Trust

Never take advantage of people. Never. Don’t even let them think that you’d do so. It’s the quickest way to ruin a relationship and build a bad reputation that can harm other relationship too. The key to building trust is being honest. When you are willing to forego your own interests to help someone else, they know they can rely on you.Do the right things and be dependable, and you’ll see your relationships grow stronger.

3. Network

Networking is the key to building successful relationships, and you have many options available to you. I also attend as many mixers as I can to meet new contacts. However, networking doesn’t have to be this formal. You can strike up a friendly conversation with someone at the gym. As long as you are engaging with other people, you are actually networking. Even if you aren’t much of a people person you can put yourself out there a little bit so that you can make some great contacts. You don’t have to be the life of the party. People would rather you just be yourself. Even if you’re not comfortable putting yourself out there on Facebook, take a look at your Linked in profile. Make sure it’s up to date, and test the waters to see if you can make any new contacts online.

4. Build Business Relationships By Showing An Interest In Others

Showing interest in others is an early step to gaining respect and building a business relationship. One bad attitude to avoid in a relationship is being pretentious. Pretentious people don’t get very far because they always talk about themselves. Listen to what people have to say and show sincere interest in them.

5. Work Hard

This is one of the proven strategies to market yourself. People no longer buy knowledge, they buy results. People need you to prove yourself worthy before they invest in you. Believe me, nobody is ready to get your back or put in word for you, if they know you will not deliver the result.

6. Network-Introductions

Chances are many of your connections could help each other out if only they were connected. When you felt an introduction would be beneficial and both parties have agreed, introduce two of your connections to each other.Be a business match-maker. Those people will then move mountains for you.

7. Send A Letter

We now live in a digital world. Everything is electronic now. You can get someone’s full attention by mailing a handwritten note to them. If you just finished reading a good book that provides information about an issue you’ve discussed with someone in your, mail it to the person with a note expressing why you’re sending it.

Think about how that would impact you if someone did it for you.

8. Meet In Person

We connect virtually today, 90% of our connections are virtual. But you can always take your business relationship to another level by meeting in person. You can meet local contacts for lunch or if you travel regularly, try to meet with your contacts that are in the city you visit. Another good thing is that you can use Skype to take your relationship to a new level.

If you come across a link that one of your contacts might appreciate, send it and give him or her a short explanation of why you thought the link will be useful. You can also personalize this by letting them know how the link made you remember him or her. A point of warning here; do not send too many links to the same person.

10. Congratulate Them

If you learned that one of your connections is promoted or changes professions, rejoice with them. Send a congratulatory note and ask personal questions about the change. This is an opportunity to catch up on other matters and provide an update on your own status.

11. Do Not Overdo It

This sounds like a caution. You need to give the people in your network space and room. They are not nurturing a relationship with you alone. So, let them breathe and grow on other things. No one likes to be smothered. Gauge their comfort level and go from there.

This article first appeared on The Money Mix.