There are very few businesses that don’t involve human interaction. Even an online business involves humans visiting a website, which was created by other humans. If those human visitors find the website isn’t very user friendly, or it looks a bit ‘dodgy’, then they won’t trust the website, and the business relationship can’t develop. Building business relationships is key.
Building business relationships can only occur when both parties in the relationship find it mutually beneficial. For example, say person A and person B are talking. If they are exchanging useful information, and both people are enjoying the conversation then the relationship will grow. It’s likely they will continue talking into the future. Over the course of time the relationship will deepen. By building business relationships like this they might finally enter into a business transaction together.
Building business relationships involves an implicit mental calculation. Person A and person B are spending time (and possibly money) with each other. This is a cost. In return both Person A and person B are hoping that they will get a benefit, e.g. learn something new, have some fun, do a deal, etc. If the benefit outweighs the cost for both people then the business relationship is profitable. If the relationship is profitable then there’s a good chance that it will grow.
If the relationship is profitable for person A, but loss-making for person B, then chances are that person B will make his/her excuses and leave.
If we’re trying to get a business outcome, e.g. a sale, then it all happens through building business relationships in some form. The better you can nurture the business relationship, the more likely you are to get the business outcome you want.
Building business relationships requires keeping two basic points in mind:
- Is this a profitable or loss-making relationship for the person I am trying to work with?
- What can I do to make this relationship more profitable?