Why relationships grow business
The other day I was attending a networking event and one of the speakers said that one of the reasons he has so much business is because he regularly meets with people outside of the networking meeting and tries to learn more about them and develop a friendship as well as a business relationship. It struck me as very insightful and I recognized that it also involves doing something important: Letting people into our lives past the level of business. In other words, its important to be friends with your clients.
I’m a fairly private person in many ways and yet what I’ve observed is that letting the shields down a little bit can go a long way with people. The adage that people do business with people they know, like, and trust is absolutely true. Why would you do business with someone you didn’t like? The only time you will is if that person has a service you need that no one else offers.
Getting to know people and letting them get to know you helps them recommend you to other people. They get a feeling for who you are and what you care about and they come to trust you as a result. This kind of networking isn’t typically discussed at most networking meetings, but the people who get kudos and referrals typically are involved on more than just a business level. They have friendships and are active in their community. They build relationships with the understanding that a given relationship supports business and life. The two go hand in hand, and the result is something much different from how we might think of business.
The result is friendship, fellowship and a sense of community. I’ve seen this principle at Chamber events and certain networking events and what strikes me is that people who attend those events for business only don’t really have a personal connection to other people. And people can sense that and will respond accordingly. But if show up with a genuine desire to get to know people and you follow up with people outside of networking events, then people can also sense that and they want to do business with you. They know you care on a level that goes beyond just providing good service. That’s a business foundation all of us should aspire to.