I would not be where I’m at in business or in life without relationships.

They are so valuable. I’ve found that so many people are very intimidated by the idea of forming relationships. The few who are salesy, and spammy and just not fun to be around destroy it for the rest of us. None of us want to be “that person.” This fear keeps people closed up when the best thing they could do for their business and often their lives is to get out there and meet people. We also get hung up on meeting the “right” people. We focus so intently on the people that will advance our company’s growth that we sometimes miss great opportunities because they don’t look like we think they should look. I was in a Podcasting Forum just the other day and someone asked is it okay to call or email people and to interview them for my podcast. Questions like these leave me dumbfounded. Of course it’s okay. And not only is it okay, if you want to interview people on your podcast in imperative.

Here are some tips for building strong relationships.

Put yourself out there.

You have to go to places where you can meet people. These will include business networking functions, online forums and mastermind groups. You aren’t going to meet anyone sitting in your home or office. Get out there be it in person or online!

Be of service.

People are turned off by the a person when they believe that person is simply trying to get something. If you are trying to give something people are a lot more open. In every interaction you have think- how can I be of service to this person? How can you make their lives and businesses better. Starting an approach with that in mind will put you in a giving place. Please let to receive and if they find that in each conversation or interaction they have with you that you’re providing value that will result in their valuing of you.

Be genuine.

People want you to be yourself. They aren’t looking for a super polished, perfect business owner. They are looking for honesty. Express your true enthusiasm for your business and for the person you’re interacting with. This genuine excitement and likability will translate into powerful relationships.

Seek first to understand and then be understood.

This is one of my favorites from Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We need to listen first. Talk to the other person about themselves first! If we are trying to understand the other person, we are more likely to build strong relationships. I’ve found that when I meet someone I want to form a relationship with when I start with their dreams, goals, path it flows over into my mission as well. If the person you’re talking with is worth forming a relationship with they will ask you about you and your business. If they never do chances are they aren’t someone you want to form a powerful relationship with. TALK less about yourself, and more about the other person.

Go deeper with the relationship.

If you find someone that you connect with deepen the relationship by requesting one on one time with that person. It might be a coffee date or a Skype chat. Ask them how you could be of service to them? Ask them what types of clients they want and how you can help them find those clients. (Secret tip: and then deliver. If you are able to offer that person a referral or two that will go a long way in solidifying your relationship)

You need powerful relationships because we all need people to help our businesses grow. You never know who you are talking too and how they can help you get to where you’d like to be. As you grow as a business owner be willing to help others just as much as you receive help. Giving is the cornerstone of powerful relationships.

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