There is NO substitution for quality relationships within your personal and business network. Most of my business development strategy is based on maintaining relationships I already have or cultivating the ones I’m actively seeking. You must nurture relationships if you expect growth. Unfortunately, our younger generation thinks the superficiality of an Instagram follow makes for the strong foundation of a business relationship.
What it really comes down to is trust. I want to work with someone because I think they have a great skill that would be perfect for a project. Even better is if we’ve already had a friendly, working relationship. They either have a body of work that speaks for itself or I trust them because I know them. They’ve put the time into developing our relationship.
These 6 tips should help you start building and fostering meaningful relationships that will help take your network to the next level.
- Instead of texting… call. A good old-fashioned phone call helps both parties take time out from the busyness around them and get on the same page.
- Put your phone away. In a meeting, on a date, at the table, just put your phone away and be present in the moment. What’s more important than the people you are with right now?
- Be a fan of the people you want to work with. Cheer them on. Ask about their wins, failures, struggles. Truly get to know them.
- Shut up and Listen. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak. Actively listen to what someone else has to say. You’ll probably learn something in the process.
- Follow up. Close the loop of communication on a call, email or text. Don’t leave the person guessing the status of the conversation. CLOSE THE LOOP – “Here is where we left things,” “This is what I’ll do,” “I’ll reach out to you when I’m done,” “I think that’s great – let’s move forward.”
- Follow through. Do what you say you are going to do. Be a person of integrity and follow through with what you said you were going to do. You’ll build trust quickly with the people in your network.
Ultimately, if you unplug from the technological aspect of your relationships and dig into some face-to-face time, it will pay dividends – professionally and personally.