How do you develop a relationship that can stand the test of time? This is something that all business professionals aspire to, as the most effective (not to mention profitable) referral-generating relationships span many years and decades.
Having these strong relationships that can help your business flourish, a tactic called relationship marketing, is largely what BNI helps members accomplish. Getting to know referral sources and their businesses, identifying ways that you can help them hit their goals, and sharing elements of your business are first steps in developing these relationships. Perhaps welcoming your new relationship into your office to let them see you at work, helping them get to know you, and learning about their business, life and goals, helps them to see you as a potential referral partner.
Once you have established yourself in their circle, you’ll begin to see trust growing between you. Perhaps you pass them a referral, and they shortly after reciprocate. Maybe they passed a referral to you, and you exceeded expectations, giving their mother-in-law a fantastic experience. Building this rapport helps strengthen relationships, and is necessary to continue developing lasting referral-generating relationships.
Another part of developing this credibility is also having other strong relationships with people who are willing to sing your praises if called upon. Not having any relationships can seem questionable, with a few exceptions. If you have lived in the same town for 15 years, have operated your business for 12, and have no relationships, potential new referral partners may see this as a red flag.
Developing relationships that last is a time commitment. There is no magic formula, no quick solution to building relationships. Some relationships will develop quickly, while others take years. The key to ensuring you are building a strong foundation for years to come is putting in the time and effort needed to establish trust and reliability with your new referral partner.