Appreciation marketing teaches us that we should pass referrals to our networking partners if possible. Does our responsibility stop there; is passing referrals the only contribution we make? Of course not; there are many ways we can support our partners; referrals are just one facet of the partnership.
Our networking partnerships must be comfortable for all parties. They must be true partnerships where all parties trust each other, being assured that their feelings, thoughts, and spoken words will be honored and kept in confidence if desired. Utmost care must be taken where each partner knows that openness will be fostered and respected.
Construct relationships based on trust and honesty. The partners may ask advice of the each other and expect that their request will be honored. The response must be straight forward and attempt to best answer the request for help. We must not give the requester the answer that only flatters; we must provide our best advice.
In other words a networking relationship requires that all partners “check their egos at the door”. They must get honest, direct, and supportive responses to requests for help, not empty words that will not “ruffle feathers”. We might respond with the words that the requester does not want to hear.
If someone comes to you with an idea about their marketing, they have honored you with their request. You should consider their idea as if it was your own. Look at it from every angle and consider it as if it was your plan and your company needs it to further its prosperity.
Does the plan make sense; does it honor the marketplace and further the excellent reputation of the company? Does the plan consider the benefit of the customer and have integrity? Does the plan reflect appreciation of all? Would you place your name and that of your company on the plan? Do not fail to give your decision making the full attention that your relationship requires.
Then make your partner aware of all your feelings about the plan and how you arrived at your decision. Be honest, even if it might be easier to not be. Define your steps that you followed to arrive at your advice and discuss how you feel about the question.
If you and your partner agree about your suggestions, perhaps your partner just wanted reinforcement. If you do not agree, then explain your thought process and discuss the differences in your thoughts. If you discuss the disagreement and cannot resolve the differences, then agree to disagree and move on. You have done what you should have done, to the best of your ability and cannot do more.
Is there a possibility that your relationship may be strained or damaged? If so, then it wasn’t very strong to begin with; it wasn’t the type of relationship that was founded on honesty and trust and that fosters the growth of the same. A true networking relationship is one where the parties can say anything to each other and what they say will be delivered and received with honesty, trust, and care for each other.
Think that you have a solid networking relationship since you pass referrals to each other? You have a start; now take it to the next level and beyond. Networking relationships are the basis for your network of advisors of whom you can ask anything at any time and get honest, truthful responses in return. You may not like the conversation; you may be uncomfortable, but you will find that your relationships have moved to a better business and/or personal level.
Have a comment? Please leave it for me. I appreciate your thoughts, questions, and support. I also appreciate your calls, 360-314-8691, and emails, Jim@SOC4Now.com. Please let me hear from you so we can build a networking relationship and help each other.