Agent Resources

In business relationships, quality always beats quantity

Business relationships, like any kind of relationship, take time to build. However, there are a number of ways to develop relationships with your business peers that are authentic, rooted in common experience and productive. Here are some areas to think about.

1. Be true to yourself

For example, if the business contact you are meeting for lunch is a keen meat-eater, but you are a committed vegetarian, don’t order a steak in order to make a good impression on them. When they find out that you are actually a vegetarian, they will be unimpressed by your ability to stick to your values and may wonder about your maturity. People don't want to meet replicas of themselves and particularly if your contact is older or younger than you, they may find it quite interesting to explore your different views, as they may feel it gives them some useful insights.

2. Make yourself vulnerable

Nobody wants perfect friends. Half the point of our friends is that we can confess our weaknesses and failures to them and have a good laugh with them. It's the same in business - nobody cultivates warm feelings towards someone who makes themselves out to be a paragon of every business virtue. Be prepared to share something that made you look ridiculous, or something you've never been able to do. This shows that you have let your guard down, and encourages your business acquaintance to do the same.

3. Do something for them

It might only begin by passing on a lead to them, but many of the most fruitful business relationships are built up through a mutual exchange of favours. Similarly, if you happen to notice something that might be a risk to their business, and you warn them about it, they will trust you and want to build a stronger relationship with you.

4. Try and meet in a non-business environment

Whether it's the somewhat clichéd round of golf, lunch, or inviting them for an after work drink, try to meet your business contacts outside work, to deepen your relationship with them and to learn more about the real person. It's not until you start to swap details about background, family, relationships and interests that you begin to know enough about the person to build an authentic relationship.

5. Be reliable in your business relationships

It's really important that people who are thinking of cultivating a closer business relationship with you, see you as reliable and trustworthy. If you always turn up late for a lunch appointment, even though you excuse it on account of being busy in the office, your professional ability to manage your time is going to be questioned. Always do what you say you're going to do, even if it's only rattling a tin can in the shopping centre for your business pal’s favourite charity.

6. Focus on quality relationships, not hundreds of acquaintances

People who interact primarily through social media have a tendency to amass meaningless contacts, valuing quantity above quality. But in business relationships, the quality of the people you know and can count as business friends is far more important than the number of people you meet for lunch. If you are young, try to focus on people who have a lot to teach you and be open with them about the fact that you want to learn. If you're older, accept that younger people may have much to teach you and being open to them may yield unexpected benefits.

Source: Nethouseprices, 05/10/17

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