Building Real Relationships

I despise the word networking.  Always have, maybe because it’s such an overused word but more likely because it never made sense to me.  It seems impersonal.

Recently, I read an article by Paul Jun titled “9 Unforgettable lessons from Seth Godin’s Summer Seminar of Impresarios.”

He hit a nerve with me that I thought described networking vs. building real relationships in life and business.

Jun talks about how your network isn’t there only when you need an endorsement – they are there because of the relationships you have built on the foundation of authenticity and transparency.

I couldn’t agree more.

You shouldn’t go into an event to try and build a network.  You should go in with the mindset that you want to build long lasting relationships.

How do you do that?  Is it a mindset or does it take preparation?  I believe it takes both.

From a mindset perspective you need to adopt an attitude of giving – to find ways to help people, your customers, your peers, your friends and your family.  Ask a lot of questions and listen to what people are saying.  What are their goals, visions and fears?  How can you help them?

You need to be free.  Authenticity is defined as “of undisputed origin, genuine or made in an original way.  Authenticity and vulnerability go hand in hand to developing lifelong relationships.  You need to open up your true self to people.

Naysayers will say but I’m a private person or it’s none of their business.  I personally take the opposite approach.  I want my prospects, customers and peers to know the real me.  There is something truly genuine about taking this approach and I promise it will lead you to success and happiness.

I talk a lot about differentiating yourself from others whether it’s the competition or members of your own team.  Authenticity and vulnerability are two ways to accomplish that.  It took me many years to learn this, especially in business, and I have to say, it is one of the most important qualities I’ve developed.

Preparation is the second part of the equation. 

Asking great questions and being a great listener are key attributes here.  It’s more than that though.  Anyone can ask questions and listen.  It’s the preparation part of it.  What are the questions that you want to ask?  Where do you want to lead this person?  What insights are you looking for?

When you are listening, pay attention to the person’s tone, facial expressions and body language.  Are they passionate about the topic?  Did you hit nerve? 

Really listen to their thoughts and ideas.  How can you help them?

Do your research ahead of time to fully understand the prospect/customer and their company.  This will result in engaging conversation which will lead to a relationship. 

Done many times over will form a lifelong relationship that will be beneficial to both of you. 

Greg McKinney is a respected sales leader and is nationally know as a speaker, sales coach and consultant.  He believes in helping others and serving the good of humanity.  His phenomenally popular website is a must see for all sales leaders, small business owners and sales professionals.

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