Building professional relationships is a facet that many people take for granted, but one that is of the utmost importance in building your long-term professional network, and ultimately your net worth. Because if you can’t build good, solid relationships, you won’t have advocates. And advocates lead to opportunities, referrals, and repeat business.
I recently sat on a panel as a speaker for an association here in Houston. There were a total of four panelists. There was a C-suite executive recruiter, two executive coaches, and myself, a speaker and communication coach. What I found very interesting and what I loved about being on the panel was that every one of us had the central message of the importance of building relationships in order to build careers and businesses.
That says to me that there is a shift occurring about the impact that relationships have in the professional world. We are moving into a time in which soft skills are becoming increasingly valued and emotional intelligence is something the corporations are paying money for. That’s because they are beginning to understand that human capital is a resource that pays dividends, if invested in wisely.
What does that mean for the rest of us who aren’t corporations or what does it mean for those who are looking at ways to build their careers? It means, the trend still impacts each of us and that building relationships is a way to build careers and businesses, stronger and better.
Here are 3 tips to consider to build better professional relationships:
- Be genuine
How many times have you gone to a networking event and heard all about how awesome someone is, all the things they’ve accomplished, and how well connected they are? In that selfish, arrogant monologue you truly begin to question their sincerity for several reasons. Not the least of which is that they don’t let you get a word in edge-wise, and secondly, it all sounds way too good to be true. If that’s the case, it probably is.
Don’t be this person!! Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Don’t oversell yourself. Don’t tell people things that aren’t true. Instead be genuine. Because ultimately, those things can come back to bite you and that definitely puts a dent in your integrity.
So be genuine, letting people get to know the real you, not the you that you think they want to hear about. Good relationships are not built on pretense!
- Build advocates with a win-win outcome
Let’s revisit this person who comes in like a lion at the networking event touting all the great things about themselves, but not allowing reciprocation. How frustrating is that? No one wants to enter into a relationship, personal or professional, in which they receive nothing. Relationships are about give and take. You don’t want to just try and sell someone on how great you are and find out all the ways they can help you. But instead, also be willing to give something back, listening to what the other person needs and how you can be of assistance to them. This is how you create a win-win dynamic.
Don’t be the person who gives or takes too much. Find a good balance with people you are in professional relationships with. If the balance is off, it is time to revisit whether or not that relationship is worth your time. Good relationships should equate to both people being the recipient of good and valuable things.
- Stay connected
This is where many of us fail. Too often we are not following up on our networking or business leads. What people may not realize is that is takes 6 to 12 touches in order to get a sale. So follow-up and follow-through are crucial in order to increase your business profits.
What about career opportunities? Well, imagine you’re in a relationship with your spouse or significant other. What happens when you stop communicating and connecting? The relationship suffers, doesn’t it? The same is true with your professional relationships. If you get out of touch, the gap increases. You will no longer be in forefront of their mind and vice versa. So how can you serve each other, if you’re not thinking about each other?
You want to keep good, long term, profitable relationships? It requires staying connected!
Your net worth
If you want to increase your sales, put more money in your pocket, have more career opportunities, then be genuine and establish and maintain professional relationships that have a win-win component. All of these things can improve your net worth.