7 Steps To Build Your Business Relationships

Written by Tammy Durden

If you didn’t know it by now let me share something with you: business revolves around relationships. With all the online world has to offer including Artificial Intelligence (AI), business growth happens because of relationship building. Building business relationships are key to your business growth. That is why I am sharing 7 steps to build your business relationships.

Making connections that last and serve you in your business is key to any growth and success in business. You must learn how to build business relationships that serve you well.

Tammy

Yes, it is wonderful if you also connect on a personal level, however, the ultimate goal for building relationships in your business is to help you reach the goal of achieving business success. Building relationships will help you do that.

Nobody can deny that building and having good relationships is helpful in business. It is not automatic and it takes time to build them. And learning to build relationships that serve you well takes practice.

Now, let’s discuss how you can begin building those relationships.

Below is a ‘how to’ list for starting and maintaining your business relationships.

  1. Research First
  2. Be Strategic
  3. Reach Out and Make a Connection
  4. Offer Help
  5. Video Meeting
  6. Follow Up and Deliver
  7. Remain In Touch

If you have a business or are starting one you’ve likely been swamped with all kinds of messages from people wanting ‘to help’ you. For a price that is. So, take your time before connecting and do your research first.

Look at their online profile. Visit their website to see what they do and the type of clients they want to reach. Think of ways you may be able to help them or collaborate with them on projects. Perhaps you want to do a summit and they are a great fit.

Make a list of the ways you can help them and any other ideas you have for collaborating.

The reason you research first is because you want to be strategic about who connect with online. The best way to do this is to make a list of the type (or industry) of people you know you can help and could help you. A mutually beneficial relationship will go a long way to gaining a new colleague and developing that relationship.

Begin to use a CRM system if you are not already. You can also utilize a Microsoft Excel or Google Worksheet to track these. Keep detailed notes in your CRM system (and/or on your worksheet). This will be important as you continue to develop these relationships.

Once you have researched and strategically made your list of those you want to build relationships with then it’s time to actually reach out to make a connection. You should connect with them and tell them why you would like to meet them (either in person or virtually).

In your message explain how it could be beneficial for you both. As you know business owners are inundated all day with messages and emails trying to sell us things. Someone who genuinely wants to connect with no alternative motive is refreshing.

As you try to connect with the person be yourself, real and genuine. Explain to them how you think you can help them. Also, be honest about how you hope to receive help from them. Others do not always want free but rather most of the time they want to offer something in return. Therefore if the relationship can help both parties it’s a win-win situation.

  • Opportunities: Strong business relationships open doors to new opportunities. They can lead to strategic partnerships, lucrative contracts, job offers, and collaborations that you might not have accessed otherwise. 
  • Trust and Credibility: Trust is the currency of business.”
SHIFT WORKSPACE

Once you feel you have a good copy of your message or email, I suggest putting a copy of it in your digital notebook (I use OneNote but there are others). It will serve you well in the future so you can simply copy and paste. Personalize it after you paste it onto the platform you are using with their name and any other details you can provide. This way you can use it over and over again. This will save you a significant amount of time in the future.

The next step is to set up a video meeting (or meet in person). Provide a link for your calendar for a 15 – 20 minute chat. You do not want to set up an hour-long meeting right away, this can be overwhelming.

Prepare for your meeting ahead of time. Do any additional research about the person you are meeting with in advance. Then bring a notepad if in person or have your digital notebook ready.

You should also prepare an agenda for the meeting (from your point of view). It is not necessary to share it with the person you are meeting with as it is simply a rough draft of what you hope the agenda may be.

It could look something like this:

  1. Greetings and Introductions
  2. Share each other’s businesses
  3. Ways to help one another
  4. What you should send or provide to them after the meeting
  5. Outcome of Meeting
  6. What follow-up should you do(also add to your PM system & planner)

[If you can meet in person, that is wonderful, but because I am speaking to online service entrepreneurs who are usually setting up virtual meetings.]

Step six is crucial in the process of building a long-lasting business relationship. If you discussed something that you said you would send over to them or if you said you would send them an introduction to someone (a free checklist or if you are to do a virtual introduction, etc.) you should do this as soon as possible. If not the same day then the next workday you are in the office.

Following up and delivering as promised helps reinforce that you will do what you said. This is what building trust is all about.

Continue to remain in touch by communicating with them often (not too often). Make notes in your CRM system about your follow-up plan to keep in touch with the person. Make a strategically spaced follow-up schedule.

At first, you will follow up within 24 hours and deliver anything promised. After the initial follow-up, you can send another email or message in two to three weeks. If they promised to send you something, do not bug them but lightly remind them in the message or email that you are waiting for it.

To help you continue to build your business relationships, inform the other person of any outcome from things they shared with you. For instance, if they connected you with someone you should tell them how it went and if you were able to sign them up as a client or if you are still working on it. Thank them again for their help (if they provided any). You need not write anything long as it is only to touch base.

It is a great idea to create copy for follow-up emails and messages to use and personalize in the future as well.

This is all part of nurturing your relationships. Once you have a follow-up initially and then followed with a second message it becomes about nurturing this relationship. These follow-ups help to reinforce the relationship and continue to add trust to it. Reaching out every month at first to check in and see if they need anything or if you can offer help is a good time frame to start.

Nurturing business relationships develops loyalty, trust, and referrals. Although the effects or outcome of the relationship is not evident immediately it can be seen and even measured over time.

Knowing the ROR and ROI of when building relationships is important. After all, you are putting time into it that is taking time away from some other possible revenue-producing activities. Therefore, understanding and knowing these is a big factor.

Ted Rubin, a leading social marketing strategist and CMO of Photofy defines ROI and ROR as follows:

ROR (Return on Relationship) is the value accrued by a person or a brand due to nurturing a relationship. 

ROI (Return on Investment) is simple dollars and cents. ROR is the value (perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations, and sharing.”

-SuperOffice

This is why keeping track of the relationship (via CRM, worksheets, and notes) and its benefits plus the costs to you (including time) is significant. Measuring these factors so you can examine if the benefits outweigh the costs in the relationship.

I hope you will go out today and start to build more relationships that are strategic and nurtured well to serve you and your online business. I’d love to hear how it goes!

Until Next Time and To Your Continued Success, My Friends!

~Tammy

with love from Tammy Durden of Fearless Business Boss

Tammy S. Durden is a thought leader, speaker, and business coach for online service providers, new online coaches, freelancers, virtual assistants, OBMs, and other small businesses. Tammy has established herself as an authority figure over the last 16 years in the online service industry, being called the “Godmother to Freelancers” (or virtual assistants). Her leadership is evident through her coaching, speaking, and teaching to audiences on topics such as business startups, business growth, digital marketing strategies, scaling your business (with a virtual team), and much more. Tammy loves to empower women and disabled professionals to thrive in the online services industry.

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