How do you go about your business relationships? How do maintain and improve these relationships?
One of the approaches that can help you, is the Golden Triangle of Networking.
The first question to ask yourself is what you can offer people without expecting anything in return. This is something else that the products or services from your organisation.
What can you offer? These are but a few examples: your own knowledge, experiences, a free newsletter (of your own organisation or one you are subscribed to yourself), a list with interesting websites or books, an invitation and the most important: introductions.
The second angle is asking questions to your network. Many people have a hard time doing this because they have limiting beliefs such as: who am I that people are willing to help me, they won't have time to help me or the people I know are not the right people.
Don't let this kind of thoughts influence you. People like to help each other, especially if it doesn't cost them time or money.
What you do have to do is asking a clear question (which shows you have already given thought to the matter) and that you give enough context.
One of the best questions you can ask your network is: who do you know who can help me with ...
The last angle is thanking people. This can be done via a face-to-face meeting, via the telephone, via e-mail or via a text message. However, the best way to thank people is sending a post card or letter. Why? Because this takes more time and effort than the other ways to thank someone. And it can be stored. Don't underestimate the psychological effect from this action!
If you own a company or are in sales: think a step further, especially towards customers and other business relationships. They are the ones who keep your organisation running. You can send them a gift or invite them to an event you organise yourself or where you take them to.
Apply this Golden Triangle and your business will thrive!