There are plenty of books, articles and even classes that teach you how to network and build strong business relationships. In fact, building business relationships shouldn’t be viewed as a skill you need to learn and deploy at will.
Once it’s a skill, it’s not a relationship. It’s a transaction. And it’s easy to tell when someone is taking a transactional approach. Your behavior will tell what your intentions are, so if you have the wrong ones, your actions will show it.
Every relationship is about connecting with someone. There’s more to humanity than meets the eye. We’re actually social, tribal creatures, and we can connect with others by leveraging the very strengths that make us different from them.
If your intentions are good and there’s mutual motivation to develop a relationship, then it’ll likely progress on its own — there’s no need to look to books, articles, Business relationships are often divided into two categories: friendships and partnerships. It’s all about the money and incentives. There are subtle differences in each, but both are built on the same fundamental principles.
Business relationships are about emotional connections, not potential benefits.
Both relationships and partnerships are based on an emotional connection and trust, just like all other relationships. Trust is a hard-won relationship that requires more than just an initial “Hi.” It takes time and effort to get to know someone and to find common ground, and it takes effort to maintain.
I have lots of friends that are great people that I see every once in a while. I’ll see them, I’ll buy from them and then eventually I’ll meet them. We usually meet up just because we know each other, and I want to see them. All of these relationships helped to strengthen me and they will continue to do so.
These casual connections have helped me land jobs, make investments, and discover opportunities in my area and beyond. I’ll tell you what I did to make them happen. I don’t begin any of my relationships with the idea I’ll get something out of them.
It all started with friendships, but in the long run, we ended up being mutually beneficial. We all became seniors at different points in our career, and eventually we began working together. Once you learn how to be generous and kind, you’ll be amazed at how much good can come from it.
The point is, don’t call people and meet them only when you need something.
Be open to a business friendship that may never produce any “results” for you. That’s what makes life interesting and fun.
Some partnerships require persuading people to work with you.
It’s true, business partnerships are different than friendships. You don’t have a long history together to act as the basis of your relationship. You’re attempting to convince someone to work with you. To get people to see how this partnership is the right fit, you need to make a case for why it makes sense for both of you.
If you’re working with an entrepreneur who is willing to give you both equal opportunities and who values you as an equal, then you’ve got a good start. It doesn’t matter how great your idea is. If you don’t have the experience, knowledge, connections, resources, and skills to execute your idea, then it won.
But partners are still based on an emotional connection. You have to build rapport and trust with potential clients before you’ll get their business. For example, there are times when you can convince someone logically that it makes sense to work on a certain project.
If their heart isn’t in it, they won’t be able to do it. In order for there to be a foundation for a relationship, there has to be an emotional connection between two people. When your incentives are aligned, even if you work through the day, you have the potential to get your partner to do amazing things.
No matter how carefully and thoroughly you prepare, it’s inevitable that you’ll experience some setbacks. Don’t panic; they’re just part of the process.
Ultimately, people bond in communities of interest.
People in any industry share certain interests, qualities and motivations that bind them together. The best way to make friends is to be the kind of person you want to be friends with.
Early on in my career I was given a great piece of advice: Pick one or two conferences and go to them every year.
If you go to the same conference year after year you’ll get to know a lot of new people and maybe meet some old friends as well. You’ll be seen, and you can get to know people during coffee breaks or happy hour.
When conferences are sponsored by companies that share similar interests, people who attend can also gather together to talk about things that are important to them. Meet the right kind of people at your next conference and you’ll find that they’re much more fun than the ones at any other conference
In the biotech industry, the level of education and training for the top employees is often very high. You’re surrounded by MDs and PhDs. The seeds of a relationship are often built through the shared experience of that lengthy education.
If people hadn’t been in the same school, they might not have known each other, but they would have likely met at conferences or read the Everyone has similar experiences, common traits, or goals.
You’ll probably be able to make more connections, but I’d recommend looking at them simply as opportunities to meet new people and to develop authentic relationships over time It’s how you’ll create lasting relationships in every area of life.