Alert: lasting business relationships just don’t happen and develop without the dedicated, consistent work.
Here are ways to build lasting business relationships in today’s professional world.
1. Be Authentic
This is pretty simple. Be who you are and accept others as they are. It’s easy to create a false persona, especially online, but that is not the way to start a relationship and short lived when we start qualifying people and companies. Find people and companies you feel a natural connection and ease of communication with and things you both have in common. The authenticity of connecting personality, beliefs and point of view can accelerate relationships.
2. Identify Shared Goals and Values
We seek out people in life we like, share similar goals and values with. Are they honest, kind, knowledgeable, helpful? How do they treat others? This is about moral character. Do we respect them? I have sadly seen too many people present themselves one way only to take advantage of people, once they have their trust. We may not always share the same point of view with everyone, but the shared values are a must.
3. Develop Mutual Respect
I find this takes time, unless someone is referred to you by a trusted connection. We prove ourselves over time and through different activities and experiences. Join a chamber, professional group, or online community which are all great environments to develop relationships. Be patient, selective and watch people in action. Building mutual respect is an essential for growing relationships.
4. Share Some Vulnerability
We are human and sometimes that means sharing and supporting people through difficulty, challenge and change. Showing our vulnerability is part of our authenticity. One word of caution: this is best shared with a select few rather than more publicly. Use good judgment here.
5. “I’ve Got Your Back”
Let people know that you have their back as a way of showing loyalty to them. I have been at way too many events where gossip and unnecessary conversations go down among people that simple shouldn’t be doing that. As tricky as this can be, I have selectively addressed certain people directly and respectfully asked them to reconsider those conversations and choose not to continue interacting with them.