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Many perceive relationship-building in the business world to be a lot more difficult than it is and will shudder at just the thought of networking. You wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity because of a little social nervousness. Here are five easy ways you can start building stronger business relationships today:
1. Offer Your Encouragement and Well-Wishes
It’s a no brainer that everyone prefers to be around positive, encouraging people. While birthdays and weddings are celebrated by family, friends as well as work colleagues, business achievements and milestones can often go unnoticed. If you recognize that your peer has finally completed a task they’ve worked really hard on, congratulate them with corporate gifts, a celebratory drink, or a good card or email. They will appreciate the gesture and the encouragement may even be returned!
2. Be Yourself
There is absolutely no need to put on a show or persona to impress a peer in your industry. At the end of the day, in networking, people remember individuals, not long-term business plans. So, this means less stress on self-promotion and when networking, focus on being yourself and listening to what others have to say. Remember you are building relationships with people, not entities. It is also beneficial for your brand and professional image that you remain as authentic as possible so you are not simply perceived as one of many in a crowd.
A great way to strengthen professional relationships is to directly help another business by getting more leads. Like corporate gift-giving, this generous gesture is a simple act any business owner can partake in that can really make a difference in your connections. Establishing that you are happy to refer leads you to come across to someone else’s business can become mutually beneficial as you may even receive referrals in the future if the opportunity arises for the other business owner.
4. Return A Favor, Before You Ask A Favor
A lot of people feel uncertain about how to properly ask for favors. This is in both business and personal situations and will often result in the person avoiding asking favors altogether. While saving face and not wanting to appear too vulnerable can be understandable, working on complex tasks completely alone all the time can be stressful, exhausting and ultimately unproductive compared to having the support of your peers.
Rest assured, there is a perfectly simple way to request assistance in a professional setting and it involves offering your help before asking for something. Not only will this boost your sense of confidence as the interaction becomes mutually beneficial, but the other party, especially if you are not so well acquainted may be more likely to help if they know they can count on you in return.
5. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Vulnerable
Of course, you don’t want to overshare personal information when networking. This doesn’t, however, mean fabricating or toning down what your challenges, goals, and experiences are. Remember, you’re speaking with fellow business owners and professionals in your field, they are all very well aware that running a business is not a breeze. So, don’t be afraid to be a little bit vulnerable in your conversations. You may be able to relate to somebody better and in the best case, receive advice or help from your peers on how to resolve your concerns. In reality, when it comes to formal and corporate networking, a little can go a long way. Consider these five tips the next time you have the opportunity to build a long-term business relationship!