1. Always be networking.

networking session

Social media makes it so simple to connect. Social media is amazing, but it’s not that easy to build long-lasting business relationships, especially with a person who has an extensive network of contacts. How make yourself stand out so you can develop a deeper connection with ideal contacts?

It seems to me that  a good starting point is to attend live events to network with the right people in person. Let them see the person behind the Linkedin and Twitter profile photo.  That way you can connect with the movers and shakers in your niche and actually get deals done.  If you atten

I always make it a point to attend the big speeches at conferences so you can get a feel for what issues the organisers belive will resonate.  You can always mail the keynote speakers after a conference and refer to their speeches and points you felt you connected on.

In order to develop a positive relationship with someone you meet at a conference it is good to focus on 3 or  4 key points where you think your interests intertwine.

2. Nurture Relationships Without an Agenda.

Don’t focus primarily on what you can get from a new contact, abruptly asking for what you want. If you are seeking financing for startup or expansion you should take a more rounded approach.  Seek help and information rather than instant investment.  Develop contacts as friends rather than as 2-legged banks.

Entrepreneurs should seek out the ways they can provide additional value to potential partners or investors by simply being naturally curious. A great question to ask might be something like: Who would be an ideal referral for your business, and how would you like me to introduce you?

The key is to provide as much value as you can without expectation. In the end, it’s usually worth it, as reciprocity is one of the critical components in creating influence, according to Robert Cialdini in his bestselling book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. During his research, Cialdini found that if you do something for someone first, they are more likely to reciprocate. He also learned the favours don’t have to be equivalent in value, so sometimes a small favour can beget a bigger one in return. If you continue to provide value within your relationships without the expectation of a quid pro quo, it establishes trust and creates a natural bond.  In fact, this approach is remarkably similar to what relationship therapists would suggest in couples counselling.

Reciprocity is a very strong instict that lies at the basis of many business relationships.  This is why marketeers are keen to give prospects something ‘free’ that is of some value to establish a chain of reciprocity right from the start.

3. Ask, But in a Subtle Manner. 

If you’ve appropriately nurtured a relationship, you can naturally align interests that can provide synergy to the deal. So when you believe the time is right, you can make your request. However, the context of how you ask is just as critical as what you ask. Rather than directly asking about partnering on a project, it’s better to ask in a way that lets the other party initiate the move to a deal.

For example, schedule a time to talk with your potential business partner and position your ask as follows: “Can I get your advice on something? I’m looking to partner on a business project with someone and wanted to see if there’s anyone in your network you can recommend.”

This strategy gives your potential partner the option to express interest and learn more if they are curious. If not, you are giving them an easy way to defer. Either way, you can take a step in the right direction without harming your relationship, and you gain the opportunity to share your vision.

When you are talking with our team here at Hold Everything please feel free to ask us if we have other clients who might want to network or partner with you.  Our clients are very entrepreneurial and open to new projects.  We might just be able to do a bit of business ‘matchmaking’ for you.