Business is about relationships

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Photo credit: Victor via Flickr

Businesses don’t sign contracts or pay invoices — people do. Build solid interpersonal relationships to build a solid professional network.

Even if your prices are the best in town or your company offers the highest quality services, customers won’t want to work with you if you don’t connect with them on a deeper level.

Building Relationships

Developing a personal relationship with a customer or another business takes dedication and care. Below are some tips you can use to get the most out of interpersonal relationships for business.

  • Take your time. You can’t build trust overnight, so don’t be tempted to try to make a deal when you’ve only known someone for a short while. Instead, invest some time to develop the relationship on a personal level before you discuss business.
  • Be interested. People know when they’re nothing more than a potential sale. Get to know your business connections personally, and show them you truly care by remembering personal details and keeping in touch even when you don’t have something to sell.
  • Don’t assume anything. You may scare potential business connections away by assuming you are close when you aren’t. Not everyone you meet will want what you have to offer, so make sure you have reason to believe an individual will be interested before you make a pitch.

Relationship Maintenance

Building a relationship with someone is only the first step. Get the most out of your professional connections by maintaining the relationship and encouraging its growth. Also continue showing interest in your connections long after they agree to work with you on a professional level.

Good relationships are about giving something of value to the other person, so stay in touch with your connections even when you have nothing to gain from the interaction. Send holiday cards, keep up-to-date on their personal lives, and never forget a birthday.

Maintaining the health of your professional relationships over time will lead to more than just customers — you’ll gain partners who promote your business and contribute to its growth.

Which of these tips have you tried? Were you successful? Leave your own tips below in the comments.