Online business relationship building is not that dissimilar to that of building one offline. It begins with that initial first contact and, like face-to-face interactions, the person you’re meeting will make a judgement call, based on how you come across. Come over as too aggressive and salesy – the chances are, you’ll not get a connection.
Once that initial contact has been made, you then need to spend time building the relationship between that connection. If you don’t, the other person may not see the value of staying connected with you, let alone taking the time to learn more about you.
"So, what can you do to ensure you’re building good quality business relationships online?"
Remember, it’s not about you
Don’t bore them to death, talking about you nonstop. Take time to get to know the other person. The more you know about them, the more you can be of value to them. Read their profile, check out their website – make a proactive effort to get to know them. If you go straight in for the kill, talking about what your company can do for them, why they should invest in you etc, and trying to blag a sale, you’re going to come across as self-absorbed and, to be honest, boring!
The ‘two ears, one mouth’ rule still applies
This is where the ‘two ears, one mouth’ rule comes in – learn to listen more than you speak. People feel valued and respected, if they’re listened to. It’s how we ascertain if someone is interested in us and it helps us get more of an understanding about each other. However, some people need encouragement to talk about themselves too. They may feel they’re hogging the limelight or being too chatty. You should therefore make sure to ask open ended questions, to encourage them into a conversation.
Be of value
Most people go into relationships thinking ‘What can I get out of this’. The trouble is, with that mindset, you’re going to get very little! You need to focus on how you can bring value to this relationship. In last week’s article we looked at how you can give value to your customers (if you haven’t read last week’s ‘5 ways your business can offer value’ article, you can find it here) – but you also need to give value to EVERY relationship you have online.
Look to take business relationships offline too
Nothing beats meeting up face-to-face. People do business with those people they know, like and trust – and taking the time to meet up in person, will further enhance on those factors. Only ever interacting online can limit those factors, as it’s difficult to judge sentiment and feeling behind the written word, whilst video can sometimes be perceived as ‘staged’. If an in-person meeting isn’t viable, due to location etc, get on a video call!
Follow these steps, no matter what the connection
Whether you’re looking to build business relationships with one or many, the steps above still apply. If you’ve connected on an individual basis (such as on LinkedIn), look to build the relationship by setting up a reminder to send them a quick message or share something of value, on a regular basis.
If you’re looking to build relationships within a group scenario (such as your own Facebook group or a general marketing group), take the time to get to share articles, thoughts, tips and advice, that will resonate with the group. You can also arrange a meetup or virtual event too.
Finally, if you’re looking to generally reach out and build relationships on your profile or Facebook page, ask engaging questions, and respond to comments and likes. Share content that offers value, but add in your own slant – before asking for their reactions and comments.
Building business relationships online doesn’t have to be difficult. If you take the following steps into account, you’ll ensure you’re always coming across as someone who’s both authentic and genuinely interested in the other person! If you’d like help getting visible online, why not give us a call on 0207 610 0045 and see how we can help?