Building strong, beneficial, and lasting business relationships takes a dedicated amount of time and effort. A business network is a necessary and integral part of business success. It doesn’t matter whether you have an amazing product of service, you still need strong relationships to help you spread word of mouth and support your success in the long-term. Relationships don’t just happen; you have to cultivate them all the time. Relationships shouldn’t be about giving or receiving all the time; it should be balanced and beneficial to both parties. You also need to be selective in finding people who will help your business grow.
Here are ways to build your business network in today’s professional world.
#1: Join Online Forums
Your online presence is important for your business, not because it’s where your customers are searching for your products and services, but because it’s also where your fellow business owners turn to for information. By joining and being active in business owners online forums, you’ll gain insights from your fellow entrepreneurs and engage with them, share what you know, and learn from them.
Other entrepreneurs will start noticing your activities, and if they find your engagements relevant, they can add you as their business contact. This will also help to promote your business among partners and potential customers.
#2: Be Original
This’s pretty simple. As a business person, it’s easy to create a false persona online, but that will be detrimental to your relationships when others come to people know your real personality. Just be who you are and accept other people as they are. Find business and entrepreneurs that you feel easy to talk to about the things you share in common and those that you feel a natural connection. Your authenticity will help you attract people whom you share common personalities, point of view and belief; this will help to strengthen and accelerate relationships.
#3: Be of Value in Your Business Network
In every relationship, there’s always something beneficial enjoyed by both parties. In the same, you should offer something valuable when building business network. Being genuinely helpful is one of the fastest and easiest ways to build long-lasting business relationships. However, you don’t need to offer everything or make promises to everyone.
Start by sharing your expertise when warranted and listen carefully to others. By being attentive and engaging leaves a lasting impression that you are a caring person. Next, host a seminar or free workshop, to share your expertise and knowledge without selling anything. The more you offer value and build momentum, the more you’ll attract a better return on your investment of service and time.
#4: Target Influencers For Business Relationships
Connecting with influencers is a common practice nowadays for people who want to build themselves a name in the online world or establish their network. However, a majority of the people do not always engage influencers in the right way.
You need to understand what role an influencer will play. Remember that your relationship with an influencer is highly beneficial as he/she has access to bigger players in your industry. And most important, this influencer has amassed a loyal following of your target audience.
So, what can you offer to them now that they are bringing a big pie to the table? Why should they care about helping you or your business? Rushing up the table with a request for contacts, mentoring, or funding or business plan will be a real turn off to your promising relationship. Offer something substantial such as a percentage of the sales you’ll make from their influence. Just think of something beneficial you can offer back.
#5: Provide Professional Leads
Be on the lookout for things that can help the other party in your network. When you hear something valuable, let appropriate people in your business network know. Think beyond referrals and jobs. You can think about speaking opportunities, mentorship programs, or special programs that match the expertise of your relationship partner. Offer to introduce them if you are comfortable doing so.
#6: Follow Up
Following up is one of the most important aspects when it comes to building and strengthening relationships. Regardless of the type of networking, you need to turn your new contacts into active associates in your network. Reach out to new contacts within a day of your first interaction with them and remind them of the goals you discussed.
The purpose of making business relationships is to increase your visibility in your industry, gain information, and establish a personal connection that provides a platform for you to advance in your field. We hope that the above keys to building a business network will help you establish meaningful relationships.