Relationships are the key to being successful in business. If people don’t trust you then they certainly won’t do business with you. So how do you cultivate trust in a business relationship? The simple answer is to be a friend in business. This doesn’t mean you have to be a friend outside of business, but what does a friend in business do?
1) Ask questions. Listen to a person’s needs and problems. Make sure you clearly understand the person’s position. The best way to do this is to ask the person if you heard them clearly and repeat back the phrase or words they used to express the problem to you.
2) Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and relationships take time to nurture and cultivate.
3) Always strive to ask how you can help the other person in his or her business. Just the fact that you ask can be enough to develop a deeper business relationship. However, if you are ever able to truly help them that is even better.
4) Make deposits in their emotional bank account. How do you do this? You encourage them to reach their goals. You point out areas in which you see them excelling. You point out the positives when others around them are only pointing out the negatives. We’re not talking about sugar coating it and sucking up. Be truthful with them. And when you see an area to encourage, do so.
5) Thank them for the referrals they gave you, even if referrals don’t turn into business. You like to be thanked, don’t you? Enough said.
6) Communicate and educate on a frequent basis. If they don’t hear from you they won’t think of you when they meet someone who could use your product or service. And if you haven’t educated them on who makes the best referral they won’t know how they can help you.
7) Refer business to them whenever possible. Make an effort to learn who their ideal clients are and find ways to help them reach these clients.
If you do these things on a regular basis you will build solid and mutually beneficial business relationships. What do you value most in your business relationships?
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