Why? Because when you establish yourself as someone who is likeable, easy to work with, efficient, and someone that other people can trust, people will flock to you because they want to work with you. I mean, think about it: doesn’t that sound like the kind of person that YOU want to work with?
So how to do you take your current business relationships and turn them into lifetime relationships? Here are a few tips:
Genuinely care about people. This isn’t something that you can fake. You have to really care about clients, business partners, employees, and customers alike. Not just to the point of how they are doing in business, but how they are doing overall in their own life. Respect the boundary between personal and business, but at the same time be interested in the things that they care about, like their family, friends, hobbies, and so on. Care about their happiness and well-being.
• Help people. Do things to help people without any expectation of anything in return. If you have special expertise or knowledge or contacts or resources that could help someone out (even if they can do nothing for you in return!) offer to help them. Those good intentions will come back to you in other ways and you will find that people will really appreciate you.
Don’t try to pitch everyone, and don’t pitch too early. This is a biggie. Often times, people will attend a networking event where they collect cards from people and automatically assume that this gives them free reign to try to sell to all of them. Don’t ever make this mistake! Networking events are great opportunities to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise meet and start building new relationships, not a license to sell. The only people you should be pitching to are people who you already have a relationship with and you see an immediate need that they have that you can fulfill. Then actually have to need and want your services, and if they don’t, you’re just bothering people and shutting doors that could have potentially led to something huge. You can’t fulfill everyone’s needs, and if you recognize that some relationships are not going to become working business relationships, you can allow them to simply be connections. You never know – they might not be a new customer, but they might know someone who needs exactly what you are selling and can provide you tons of business in the future. But you will never know this if you try to solicit them right out of the gates because they will likely not want to talk to you again. Along this same line of thought, don't go home and add all of your newly collected business cards to your e-mail list unless you have their permission.
Don’t talk over people’s heads. Even if you are the expert of all experts in your field, don’t fill up your conversation with technical jargon that other people don’t understand. You might think that you’re just showing how smart you are and what you know, but instead of impressing people it will just alienate them, and even give them the idea that you have a big ego, which will push them away. People appreciate the experts that come down out of the clouds and explain things in real, easy-to-understand terms that they can get right away. They will see that your wealth of knowledge is there, but they will also feel respected instead of talked down to.
Check back next week for Part 2, which will have several more tips for creating lifetime relationships! (Update: click here to read part 2!)