Building professional relationships is a process that is as varied as are people. The reason for building relationships also varies and should be honestly disclosed at the beginning. Transparency supports trust and the willingness for others to reciprocate with you in building a relationship. “Paying it forward” is a term people often use to show their willingness to help others without immediate reward. We believe this is a good place to start which shows that you value the other party and are willing to earn their trust.
There are a few surefire ways to earn people’s trust in an attempt to build relationships with purpose. These include finding alignment, creating connection, and extending referrals.
Finding alignment begins with understanding how you and your connection may help each other in business and provide each other value. This “no games approach” puts both parties on the same level playing field, understanding one another’s talents, wants and needs. True alignment provides natural reciprocation and builds mutual trust. We find that most professional relationships successfully start with this initial alignment, and when done right, often leads to lasting friendships.
Creating connection is another way to earn people’s trust and build purposeful relationships, and it can be accomplished by inviting a person to an event held by groups to which you belong. The team at C Squared regularly practices this approach. Through this process we offer others a platform to meet new people, see another networking processes, and pick up current ideas through the event agenda. Some of the groups we participate in are: Accelerent, Association for Corporate Growth, the Denver Advisory Board, Financial Executives International, Strategic Connections, and multiple financial planning groups. We also sponsor events such as happy hours, golf events, lunch-and-learns, and other social events. We find this to be not only beneficial to the person we’ve invited, but to others in the group who wish to expand their networks.
To make sure that we are a potential valuable relationship with a prospective partner, we always ask how we can help them. This is where extending referrals comes into play when building purposeful relationships. We need to know how to align our skills, contacts, and tools to be of value to them. Asking them what they need is a respectful way to get to know them a bit better. If what they need is not something we can do, we endeavor to introduce them to someone who may be able to help. Since our purpose is to help in any way we can, the third-party introduction is a way to foster the trust we’ve built by becoming a valuable resource to them. When we provide value, we remain front of mind – even though a substantial relationship may not form. If you believe that everyone listens to the same radio station, WIIFM, then “what’s in it for me” becomes an honest topic for discussion.
Successful long-term relationships are made possible through trust, a willingness to pay it forward, and a continuing effort to provide value to everyone. By finding alignment, creating connection, and extending referrals to people you meet, you are establishing a foundation of trust upon which to build purposeful relationships. Each member of our team has several key referral partners that they have built lasting relationships with. Multiply that by the number of team members in our company and we literally have hundreds of long-term relationships that we all value. You can do that too. Then, the old saying, “you can never have too many friends,” becomes a marvelous way to build your business.
C Squared Solutions provides interim or fractional CFOs, COOs, and CEO advisors in all industries. We analyze and advise on business issues frequently through sophisticated modeling and experienced management. Give us a call and we can offer more information and details. We have been there and done that!