Feeling the love? How to build relationships to build your business
Feb 12, 2021
It's Valentine’s Weekend and we're sure you're being inundated with the usual offers into your email inbox!
So rather than joining in we decided to share a post that we hope you'll find valuable instead!
Valentine’s Day these days is very commercial and all about showing your love for someone special. We love celebrating love and relationships as humans, but we don’t just build romantic or social relationships...
Relationships are the lifeblood of our businesses too!
Are you feeling the love in your business right now? Are you enjoying lots of relationships with clients, prospects, collaborative partners and suppliers?
The truth is, to see success in your business, you need to build relationships, and if you're not concentrating on building those relationships, your business is unlikely to be seeing the sales it needs to grow successfully.
Relationships are the reason we have businesses - without them, you make no sales.
Relationships are what drive people to buy from you, either because they have a relationship with you direct, or perhaps they have a relationship with someone who knows and vouches for you.
This is why brands have to work hard and repeatedly market to you before you'll buy from them, most of the time! Because they have to earn your trust first...
As people we buy from people we know, like and trust. If we don't know anyone personally and our contacts can't help us find a trustworthy source, then we look for other ways to measure whether we can trust a business, like reviews or asking on a Facebook group.
Do you want more people to be recommending you? Or do you want to feel like you're the one who always has to tag yourself in a Facebook group because nobody else is recommending you?
If so, it's time to do something to make that happen!
If you're not spending time meeting new people (aka "networking" - which is not at all dry or a dirty word these days, depending on where you go), you're missing out on opportunities to build relationships, create that all-important "know, like and trust" factor, and make connections with people who will get out there and recommend you.
Do you think the idea of networking as sitting in a room with arrogant, suited and booted types who aren't remotely interested in you? It doesn't have to be like that (and certainly isn't with us in the slightest)!!
Networking isn't about selling to the people you meet, but getting them to sell for you...how great is that?!
But they won't do that if they don't trust you.
And trust has to be earned, which is where a small investment comes in... you have to be willing to invest the time in building relationships and not just think that sitting in meetings will find you business.
Meetings are the starting point for making connections - it's then down to you to nurture those connections and consistently show up so that you stay front and centre of peoples' minds.
Unfortunately, many people just don't get it and never get involved in networking, because of fear or misgivings about it as an activity, or perhaps a bad past experience.
And unfortunately some people out there really don't understand the notion of building relationships for business and are just looking for people to sell to, with no desire to serve or help others or build any other kind of non-sales relationship.
Some people give up before they've really learned how to network effectively and then say networking doesn't work. But we promise, it absolutely does! All you need is some self-awareness and an understanding of how business relationships work...in the same way as any other relationship: on the basis of give and take, mutual support, time and the desire to pull together.
It requires both parties to share this desire (oftentimes when we hear people say they gave up on networking, it was because they were investing energy in people who hadn't grasped this concept and the relationship felt too one-way for them to want to continue....it happens in all human relationships when they're not functioning properly.
The key here isn't to give up, but to move on and find someone else more willing to collaborate!
What we try and show people at Inspire, is that by regularly investing time in helping others and showing up regularly to build relationships, more people will get to know you and decide whether they like you or trust you...and when that happens, if you're clear enough about who you can help and how, they'll be able to introduce you to other connections and in doing so, build trust.
The truth is, most people don't take the time to learn how to be a great networker and think that posting on social media enough times will get them sales. But these businesses are at high risk of failing unless they develop some kind of additional route to market and a sales machine to help them sustain their lead generation.
Networking can be a great source of leads if you're doing it right!
Unless you're investing in ads, organic social media posting with no attempts to build relationships beyond your own content is unlikely to be enough to keep your business going. Yet this is exactly what a lot of people think will be the key to their success. It won't be. RELATIONSHIPS are everything in business.
Let's be honest, your family and friends network isn't probably big enough or active in referring enough business to build a successful business. So building a wider network with people who understand the value of networking is so valuable! Once you've got plenty of happy customers, they may refer you enough new business to sustain you, but ongoing networking is always wise to keep the flow of leads happening.
So let's conclude things:
If you are not currently investing in spending time and perhaps a little money in meeting with people regularly to build business relationships (like by joining The Inspire Network membership) where those you form relationships with should lead to introductions, referrals, recommendations, collaborations and all being well, sales....
And if your sales aren't where you'd like them to be right now...
Maybe it's time to look at building more relationships and expanding your network.
It takes a bit of time so don't wait until your sales dry up, you need to get cracking and start sowing seeds...we've found that referrals don't tend to start flowing freely until you've really got the hang of networking and have been doing it consistently for a good 6 months. There can be quick-wins but business is a long-term activity and networking is too...because relationships take time to build. You can't often magic something up and make a fortune overnight unless you have a great following and some money to invest! Most people don't have that, but networking can help get you there with a very small amount of money and a bit of time and energy!
So why not give it a go?
Committing a small amount of time once a week, once a fortnight, or even once a month to start some new business relationships, members at The Inspire Network love to help one another by sharing connections and ideas, which will not only inspire and empower you to go further, give you new knowledge and confidence, but will boost your business sales too!