That simple statement holds more truth in the business world than any other words of wisdom. As a small business owner, coach or consultant, we are often the brand and we have the sense we must go it alone to build our businesses. In this day and age of fierce competition and the vast internet, I believe success is predicated on developing strong business relationships, and having mutually beneficial contacts across various levels.
Trust is not given, trust is earned. Developing and nurturing such relationships can provide the most rewarding out comes for generating and giving great referrals. There are near-infinite possibilities that you can utilize to build strong business relationships, but the following two suggestions will help get you started:
Think of it as reciprocity.
‘I trust you and believe in you and will keep you top of mind and want to build a reciprocal relationship with you for referrals.’
The point of this strategy is to take a close look at the people that you have built relationships with and to make a commitment to:
1. Stay in front of this group using a 12-month plan (send a card, email of interest, etc)
2. Fully understand what they need in their business
3. Count on them to support each other in business development
Look to what you can offer potential partners, and what they might offer in return, then strive toward constructing an arrangement that works well for all involved participants.
Developing strong business relationships can be a daunting proposition early on, but looking for partners that are servicing the same clients as you are the ideal place to begin. Think of the example of Nike and Apple! They were both after the runners, so they co-created products that serve the one population! Make sure you have something tangible to offer in return to business partners, something that benefits your partners as much as their offerings benefit you.
By incorporating the power of relationship and the power of co-creation, you will gain access to a very successful approach to building a great business!
Cheers to your success!