15 Strategies For Building Authentic Connections For Your Business
To build a successful business, one of the best things you can do is make authentic connections with potential customers, vendors and business partners. Doing so allows you to garner the support of others so that you can reach further and expand your business.
The members of Forbes Business Council understand how important it is to establish these connections and strengthen relationships. To that end, 15 of them explained how authentic connections can be built for your business. Here’s how mutually beneficial relationships can help a business thrive, and the steps you can take to get there.
1. Consistently Deliver Your Brand Promise
Every time a customer comes in contact with my business before or after purchasing, there’s the opportunity to reinforce the brand perception and instill confidence. Identify all the touch points with customers and deliver with continuity what you promise each one of them. – Marilisa Barbieri
2. Demonstrate How You Value Clients
Provide more value than you bill—it’s key to understanding what clients want when they hire you. Then, go above and beyond what the client wants so you can build trust and demonstrate to your clients that you care about their success. This will make clients respect and care for your guidance once knowing you have their best interest in mind. – Maurice Harary, The Bid Lab
3. Expect A Meaningful Relationship To Take Time
Creating meaningful relationships through your connected experiences and sharing your story are core elements of the build. This is fairly simple, but for some reason, many overcomplicate it. Be genuine and willing to be open to building a trusting relationship. You cannot go from zero to trust—instead, you must honor the process and experiences that lead to building authentic connections. – Leigh Burgess, Bold Industries Group, Inc.
4. Show Your Connections That You Care
Connections are truly felt. Make an inquiry from your prior conversation—whether it’s business or personal. Show keen interest and inquire (e.g., How did that pop-up event go?) This may or may not be related to your business, but it shows you care. Caring is at the root of the authenticity of relationships. – Christine Russo, Retail Creative and Consulting Agency
5. Put Time In To Establish Relationships
It does take time to build solid authentic relationships. That being said, you can take a genuine interest in the individual and their life by asking more open-ended questions, having coffee or spending one-on-one time together. Ultimately, if you invite or they invite you to their home with family, then you have made it. – James Huang, eXp World Holdings
6. Define Your Target Audience And Reach Out
Define who you want to build relationships with and set criteria. After setting three to five criteria points, identify where these connections hang out and ask for introductions. Reach out and set targets for the frequency of connections—and when you do connect with an aligned peer, make sure that you’re giving back more than receiving help. Building connections comes when you care and provide support to others. – Libby Rothschild, Dietitian Boss
7. Connect On A Human-To-Human Level By Adding Value
Listen carefully and add value whenever you can. Actively listening to your network—where you ask meaningful questions for the purpose of reaching understanding—and adding value to the lives of your connections has a longer, more human impact than treating your contacts as resources to be developed and exploited. Seek to connect on an H2H (human-to-human) level instead of a B2B or B2C. – Eques, Inc.
8. Bring A Unique Value Proposition To Connections
Develop a strong personal brand built on authenticity and the unique value proposition you bring to your connections, their roles and businesses. Build your network with generosity, not greed, and focus on doing the right thing for your clients, customers, employees and partners. From there, growth will come. – Victoria Pelletier, Accenture
9. Don’t Sell Your Services
The more you put yourself out there as a valuable resource to connections, the more they will seek you out. If you are adding value, your services will naturally sell themselves when it fits. – Robert Depalo, National Financial Network
10. Make An Ongoing Effort To Gain Mutual Respect
Building business relationships isn’t any different from building other healthy relationships. Build trust. Be kind, keep commitments and listen intently to learn. Thoughtfully share your stories where relevant. Gaining mutual respect and trust takes ongoing effort and it shouldn’t be or feel mechanical. – Robert Harbols, Artisan
11. Have Integrity and Be Consistent In Delivering Results
Consistency, personalization and delivering results are key. Every department has to be on the same page in providing remarkable service, all the time, every time. To stand out, it’s important for clients not to feel like another part of the census. Personalize when you can and, most importantly, deliver what you promised. Integrity is the cement that locks in a quality relationship. – Melody Avecilla, Runway Heels
12. Build Genuine Relationships, Not Transactional
Build meaningful business relationships in a meaningful way, not purely through transactional, self-interested actions. Strategic partners and customers are willing to show their loyalty when they sense you care about their best interests and genuinely want to help solve their problem or need. – Marcie Dickson, Alterity ADR
13. Contribute To And Help Your Audience
Building relationships requires constantly contributing to the audience via social media, personal engagements and finding ways to make it work for key partners. Flexibility and contribution scalability are also crucial. If you can help one person, that’s good—but now it’s time to think about how to help millions alike. By using social media or podcasts, permissionless leverage is a good tool. – Alexander Zheltov, Educate Online
14. Have Conversations About Your Current Challenges
Connect with people to discuss your current challenges and dilemmas. Conversations with a clear agenda tend to be relationship builders. Every quarter, I analyze my key results and seek out the right connections to talk to about my challenges. I always ask how I can help with their own priorities and follow up after the call or meeting. – Xenia Muntean, Planable
15. Don’t Fake The Relationship
Truly care about the other person, don’t simply care for the sake of building a business relationship. Be genuinely interested in them as a person, listen and be of service—no faking here. Relationships that are true have lives of their own, so you never know where they will lead. – Andrea Fredrickson, Revela