Are you involved in your community outside of work? Are you the go-to person for your PTA, local farmer’s market or church? What kind of relationships have you built from those connections? I’ve built an organization from relationships I’ve developed through different circles that have been invaluable for my business and social life.
I grew up in politics. My father and mother were active from the time I can remember registering voters, running for office, serving on local election boards, and running bake sales. I followed in their footsteps working on local and then national campaigns. The friends I made working on Presidential campaigns are relationships that have lasted a lifetime. What are you doing inside and outside of your business to form lasting relationships where people get to know that they can count on you and that you can count on them?
Professionally, people tend to confuse networking with relationships. Networking is the act of finding out who’s around. You go to a networking event to meet people with which to build relationships. And you build relationships by doing things with people. Talking on the phone does not constitute as a relationship if you never interact with that person face-to-face.
So, how to do you develop these professional relationships? Here are three simple tips:
1. Get involved. Like I’ve already written, you actually have to do work along side other people to develop relationships -- or have some connection through love and family. You can do several things: Volunteer on a local political campaign, join a M3 Meetup group, get on a neighborhood cleanup or watch committee, or join your local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary or Lions club. Get active and be visible. That is what will help you develop relationships and grow your business. It is one of the ways you learn about opportunities like government contracts or large companies that have a need for your product or services.
2. Help people. Buy tickets to a local charity event or raffle. Serve on committees and share your knowledge and resources. Do favors for people when you can. For example, if you and a company you’d like to build a relationship with have events coming up, see if you can do cross-promotion via social media. “We’ll tweet this if you tweet that.” The worst thing they could say is no. If they agree, you’ll reach people outside of your own network, which benefits both parties. It really is true: The more you give, the more you will get in relationships and in business. Now I don’t mean giving away your product or services. I mean being generous with your time and contacts when you can.
3. Update your contacts. If your contacts are outdated, they won’t help you. You must update them every few months. Simply go through your list and mark contacts you know need updating. Then, send out e-mails to everyone on your list. Write something like, “Hi So and So, I’m updating my contact list and want to verify that I still have your correct information. I’d love to get together for (lunch, drinks, etc.) to catch up.” The best part about doing this: It will remind your contacts that you’re still around and could bring you lead generation. Who wouldn’t like that?
Relationships are key. I can’t stress this enough. They are what organizations are built from. People tend to be unsure about how to expand their universe, but it’s something you will do for a lifetime.
How do you build relationships? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Want to build relationships with a group of fantastic women? If you think you have what it takes to make your business a million, join us in Denver April 4 for the M3 1000 conference to take your business to the next level. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @M3Award and use the hashtag #M31000 when tweeting about this awesome event!