I am often asked what are some key principles to creating strong relationships in business? This is an excellent question because at the end of the day we must remember that people don’t do business with companies, they do business with people. Relationships have the same foundation, whether they are personal or professional. People want to believe that they matter. Therefore, when it comes to building good business relationships, we must think about how we genuinely make people feel and let them know we are thinking of them. Here are a couple of suggestions:
Think of others. People believe in the WIIFM = What’s In It For Me? Which means whenever you meet someone, always think about what you can do for them. Don’t always make it about you. Something I try to practice is often asking, how can I be of service to you?
Follow up. When you meet someone, send your new acquaintance a note sharing how you enjoyed meeting him or her, and you look forward to getting to know that person better. Oh, and when I say send them a note, I mean a handwritten note. I always keep a stash of blank note cards and stamps handy in my office.
Keep an eye out for how you can occasionally send them communication that might be of interest to them, such as an article, information on an upcoming event, a resource, or a new contact. This doesn’t have to become a job. As you go through any of your regular readings, be on the lookout of something that might be of interest to someone you met).
In my journey of being in business for almost three decades, these practices have served me well. Usually, when I talk to people just starting in business, they are always looking for how they can win or what they can gain. I still share with them that it is when you give that you actually receive. There have been more occasions where I thought I was helping someone else, and when I looked back over the situation, I came out stronger and better than I could have ever imagined.
Learn early to be a person of your word. Follow through. Look out for others. Extend kindness whenever and wherever you can. Pause when possible to stop and write that note of thanks, appreciation, or just letting them know you were thinking of them. You will not only build a strong foundation for your business, but you will also be sowing into the lives of others and making them feel valued. What did Mayo Angelou tell us? People may not remember what you said, and they may not remember what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
If you practice these three principles, believe me, it will make a difference in your relationships!