“Listen up!” Successful Strategies for Building Long-Lasting Business Relationships

“You can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you” -Dale Carnegie

 

Most of us have been to some sort of networking event where there seems to be one person with a huge stack of business cards, frantically making their way around the room poking their cards into everyone’s hands like it’s the golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory- all with nary an introduction.

 

Sometimes, the shark will add in a wink and a nod with an unspoken, “Call me and we’ll do business!” for good measure. This is what I refer to as a networking shark. You can almost hear the “Jaws” theme music as they approach the outskirts of each conversation group. They don’t introduce themselves, and they are loathe to take the time to have a conversation or find out about other attendees. They don’t consider the event a success unless they’ve passed out every last card in that big stack.

 

This, my friends, is not what networking is about. In fact, this tactic is rather rude. It comes across as cheesy, pushy, and selfish. This is not really the type of impression you want to leave someone with, is it? No, right? Whew! I’m glad we can agree on that. So let’s move forward.

 

Networking, sales, and business in general, are about listening. It’s about learning about your prospect. It’s about finding common ground. Learn about their business, their interests, their issues. Take the time to find out what their challenges are.

 

What are some of the issues they are struggling with?
What are they doing to remedy these issues?
What do they feel is hampering them from progressing?

 

Once you have a handle on where they’re coming from, you’re in a much better position to start building the relationship. They’ve confided in you and shared their concerns. This is where the trust factor is so important. The last thing you want to do at this point is to start selling yourself. This person has just confided real concerns that they have. Your first instinct should be to figure out the best way to help them. This does not call for a lengthy sales pitch. Now is the time for you to do some homework. Let them know that you are in their corner and working to help them find smart solutions.

 

The best salespeople in the world will tell you that success comes when you talk less and listen more.

 

If you choose to use social media to promote yourself and/or your business (and why wouldn’t you? It’s free, it’s where everyone is, and it’s the best way to reach out to new prospects that you’d otherwise likely never meet) then you should really take the time to read some articles on social media etiquette. Yes, it exists, and there are rules. You really want to give yourself every advantage by going about it in the right way. It’s an investment of your time, but well worth it when used correctly.

 

For instance, if you reach out on LinkedIn, learn about this person. Read their posts. If you like what they are about, make a specific and positive comment. Send them a helpful article that addresses their industry or the specific issue they are trying to solve.

 

Building your contact base is not about quantity , it’s about quality.

 

The best advice I can give is to be genuine. If you are always guided by doing the right thing for people with an honest, unselfish heart, you will build positive, trusting relationships, and success will naturally follow. This is true in all areas of our lives . Be true to yourself, be genuinely interested in others, and you will build trusting relationships.

 

If we conduct our lives and our business with the greater good in mind, we will always come out on top.

 

 

In the comments, tell us what strategies you use to create long-lasting relationships with your clients.

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Kimberly Diehl

Feature Editor at Women Of Distinction
Kimberly Diehl is a feature editor for "Women of Distinction" magazine. She is happily married to the love of her life and living in Florida with their three fur babies (one dog, two cats). Her interests include music, movies, travel, animals, and most definitely crafting of any sort. She loves meeting great women who are passionate about their business, family, and life in general.
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2 Comments

  1. Kimberly Diehl

    Thank you, Melissa Bolton for allowing me to have a voice in your wonderful magazine! I had so much fun writing this article! Your magazine is a blessing to all!

    Big Hugs,
    Kimberly Diehl

    Reply
    • Melissa Bolton

      Thank you, Kimberly for your kind words and your fantastic article.

      Reply

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