When we first meet anyone, we should never prejudge them and whether they would ever enter into a business relationship with us. We should get to know them, decide if we like them, and decide if we can trust them. Then, if we cannot help them find what they need, we must try to connect them with someone who may be able to help them, or who knows someone else who might be of assistance.
When we develop a relationship with others we become their partner and have a vested interest in their success. We should have the type of relationship where we can call on each other for referrals, advice, and assistance without keeping score on who has done what for whom. The best partner works to help the other person be successful without expecting referral for referral in return.
Recently I heard a person at a networking meeting say that he was interested in matching referrals with others, giving the other person referrals for each one he himself received. That is keeping score, exactly what we agreed we should not do. That is self-serving, and it benefits no one.
So what if someone does give us a referral, perhaps one which puts a significant amount of money in our pocket? What do we do if we cannot become their client or do not know someone who needs what they have? We have to wait and try to put someone in touch with them who may provide a mutually beneficial relationship to both parties. That is Gratitude Marketing and shows that we are grateful to both parties.
Networking relationships, like all partnerships, must be built and maintained, through mutual hard work and benefit for both parties. They do not start or stop on a specific date or time, and they do not take a recess for any holiday or event. You may be able to assist your networking partner in business, while one, or both, of you is on vacation, or you may be able to help someone through email, phone, or direct contact.
When we first meet anyone there are plus and minuses about them. There are certain aspects about them that we like and other characteristics that we do not like. There may also be characteristics that we just cannot tolerate. If the latter is true, are these characteristics deal-breakers; can we accept these and tolerate them to the degree that we want to maintain the relationship?
Sounds somewhat like buying a house or starting a personal relationship, doesn’t it? Well, it is, and it should be treated as such. Networking is work, and building and maintaining relationships is also work. However, just like marketing our businesses, we are rewarded for our efforts with success.
Relationships are the lifeblood of our business success. Through building, and maintaining, relationships, we can gain success for ourselves, and for our networking partners. However, we must work to do our part and make sure that we keep the interests of our networking partners foremost in our minds and efforts. It then pays off for everyone.
How would you rate your business and networking relationships? Do you believe that you are benefiting from them, and do you learn from your experiences in them? Your comments here, or your emails at Jim@SOC4Now.com, or your calls at 360-314-8691 are always welcome, even if you disagree.