What is a networking relationship? A networking relationship, or partnership, is begun when we meet someone at a business function and follow-up to meet them one-on-one to get acquainted. At that point we have started to establish a networking relationship, but what does it really mean?
In this relationship, we should be able to determine if we know, like, and trust the other person enough to refer business to them, and they should be able to determine the same about us.
However, there is something else about networking relationships besides referrals. The other person should be someone to whom we can go for information, advice, and assistance in business. Of course, the relationship should be reciprocal. In addition, the two parties in the relationship should be willing to provide information and advice even when it may not be what the other party wants to hear.
We are all in business to succeed. However, we have a vested interest in making our networking partners succeed. That interest means that we sometimes tell our partners something that they do not wish to hear. We may offer a better way of doing some project, a better way of writing a brochure, or a better manner to pursue some particular business.
We need our networking partners, and we also need to be networking partners. If we are to be successful, we need to help each other to be successful. Only through actively being partners can we reap the success that giving to others can bring. Putting forth assistance to others will reap that same type of support for our business.
Our partners need to be aware of our other partners. They need to be able to tap into the information and support available through this extended network. It is our responsibility to enable this networking function, by introducing various partners to each other, encouraging others to introduce their partners to ours, and following-up with anyone and everyone to insure that this networking takes place.
As we go about our business, we are networking each and every day. Everyone that we meet can be added to our network of trusted partners. Be on the lookout for people who we can connect with each other and make sure that they are really a part of our network. Tell them about each other, put them in touch with each other, and encourage them to do the same.
Of course, there may be a time when someone does not want to be a partner. Some business people just want to look out for themselves and do not want to be a member of our partnership network. It is our responsibility to attempt to educate them or enlighten them, if we can. Everyone that we educate to this way of thinking will thank us for our efforts later.
We must not forget that we must show our appreciation for others and their assistance to us. We also must not forget that we must show appreciation to others for their assistance to the other members of our network. This feedback may be the best way of demonstrating the way that the network should work, enabling others to see what they themselves should do for others.