Success…how bad do you want it? My guess would be probably be pretty badly. Business success is founded on the concept of building and maintaining relationships with other business people.
Relationships hold a real value when it comes to business practices. A recent network survey by the Referral Institute of over 12,000 business professionals from all over the world said that networking played a role in their successes -- and spent 6.3 hours every week in activities related to networking. So what are some business relationship blunders you should avoid? We recommend steering clear of these three big sins of building business relationships:
This happens when you meet a person at a networking event, trade business cards and delve into your sales pitch. This happens time and again. Many people steer clear of networking events because of this exact reason. People either feel that they’re supposed to behave this way and it makes them feel awkward, or they don’t want to be around people who do it.
People who pitch early don’t grasp the relationship-building facet of networking. They incorrectly believe that participating in the event gives them the green light to sell. Networking is the chance to build a win-win relationship and provides an opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise. Pitching too early can drive people away.
Signing Someone Up Without Permission
This is one of the biggest no-no’s of networking. When you do this, you show you’re just trying to build a list of contacts, and don’t give a care about actually building relationships. Do you know if the person needs what you have to offer? Do they want to read what you’re sending? Simply exchanging business cards doesn’t mean you can act in any way you want.
There’s a simple solution to this relationship-building sin. Take some time to talk to people when you meet them. If it seems their needs are something you can possibly help them with, simply ask them if they would like to be added to your email list. If they say yes, then that’s great. If they say no, then don’t take it upon yourself to add them anyway.
Never assume you’re close to someone. Just don’t do it. Even if you have several connections and enjoy a conversation, you can’t think that you’re instantly close with one another. Reflect on your own relationships with friends, your partner and co-workers. Did you say hi and instantly become best friends or get married? Most likely the answer is no. These relationships grew and flourished over time becoming ones that are strong.
I’m not saying that you didn’t really have a connection with this person. The initial sense of connection is what prompts you to have the desire to get to know someone. However, until you do in fact know people better, don’t try to do business with them. Assuming closeness sends people running for the hills.
If you’re in business for the long haul, then take the time to build relationships. There are plenty of smart ways to network with your new contacts both online and offline. Do both yourself and your business a favor and don’t rush into relationships. Get to know the people you meet and they’ll eventually become great referral partners for you as well. The business relationships you take the time to build and maintain can eventually become the best promoters of you and your company.
About the Author:
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.