Whether you are a new business owner starting a business for the first time or have many years in business development, the one thing you will always come back to is the fact that in order to succeed (that is to grow your business), you will have to learn how to build and maintain strong relationships with others.
Why is this such a crucial fact and so often repeated? The fact is because no one succeeds alone. In order to grow your business you have to be able to cooperate with other businesses and build and maintain relationships of trust and mutual respect. Some people are better at this skill than others but it is something you can always improve. There are a lot of books that would give some terrific tips for how to train this skill but at the end of the day, like all other skills, the only way to improve it is to get out there and start building professional connections.
In today’s world where lots of business is done online through emails and social media such as LinkedIn, it’s easier than ever to build new business connections! Just as in personal relationships, business relationships take time to develop. You won’t be able to meet someone and earn their trust on day one and do business together (well not most of the time). You need to learn about their business as well as share with them what your business offers. The best way is always to schedule a phone call or a meeting. With the current COVID-19 pandemic and people working from home more often, more people are willing to schedule a phone call or a virtual web meeting to get to know the product or service you sell.
Lastly, what makes your product/service, any different than all the others out there? You need to be able to figure out a business strategy that sets your product/service apart from the others. Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are hoping to do business with and ask yourself the following 2 questions
- Why should they to do business with me?
- Why is my service/product different/better than my competitors?
There are lots of small businesses today and lots of them have very similar product/offerings. This is not a bad thing and should not discourage you at all. There are also a lot of clients out there that need the service and they are always looking for new ways to improve and see who else is out there offering the service. Now it is your job to make sure that you are making the introductions and that you are staying in contact without actually bugging them. They may already be doing business with another company today, but in the future they may want to switch providers and if you apply yourself towards building professional relationships based on trust and integrity, you will be able to be right there when they decide to switch providers.
Also, there are a lot of businesses and as I said, no one succeeds alone, they all do business with one another. Once you start getting clients, it is a great way to figure out who your clients are also assisting as well and see if you may be of benefit to their company as well as they will be more willing to connect with you and schedule a meeting with you if they know that you are also doing business with their clients/vendors.
Thank you for reading and I hope that this article will encourage you to get out there and build your professional network as it should be a never-ending and enjoyable process!
By: Philip Drake