Marketing through relationship building

How to cultivate meaningful, lucrative relationships

Successful relationship building is a series of baby steps, not one giant leap. Think of your spouse … when you met, did one of you immediately propose to the other? Probably not. Most likely there was a long series of relationship-strengthening steps along the way.

Building a solid relationship in the business world is not all that different. The most successful people I know in the industry have (and continue to) put a healthy amount of time and effort into creating strong relationships.

Here are four quick tips to help you cultivate meaningful business relationships …

1. Start in your comfort zone
You don’t immediately have to cold call strangers. In fact, you may never have to. If you’re just getting started, don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, neighbors and other acquaintances first. It’s the best starting point I know of – and you can always branch out from there.

2. Be personal
You won’t get far with glaringly generic communication. Take the time and effort to personalize your contact. For example, note important dates and reach out with birthday and anniversary cards … just because.

3. Don’t be pushy
If you try to make every bit of communication a sales pitch, you won’t get far. Reach out with helpful information, educational materials and personalized greetings (see above) that hold no ulterior motives. Remember that you are running a marathon, not a sprint. Your effort may not win you a client today, but it could earn you one in the long-run.

4. Get used to rejection
Once you’re ready to propose a business relationship, don’t give up on the first “no”. I can’t tell you how many lucrative business relationships would not exist if someone had dropped a contact on the first rejection. Unless someone specifically requests that you don’t contact them, continue to gently build that relationship. Just because today isn’t a good time doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be.

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