You See How to Build Stronger Business Network Relationships
Networking, some people hate it, and some people love it. We can agree that networking is one of the most important business skills that you need to develop.
Let’s look at a strong testimonial for networking. Paul Teshima knows about networking. A co-founder of Eloqua, Paul understands that your network is your net worth. He knows what you need to do to actually build relationships. Paul spoke recently about growing networks and building trust-based business relationships.
You See How Your Network Really Is Your Net Worth
Paul sold Eloqua to Oracle for $871 million back in 2012. Many remember the splash the sale made at the time. But what most people don’t know is that the whole deal went through so seamlessly because Paul had built strong, shared relationships with the people at Oracle.
In fact, Eloqua was purchased for more than twice its estimated public market value. An increase of over $400 million in shareholder net worth. Simply put, Paul knows a lot about marketing, selling, and networking.
Here are five things he taught me about building powerful relationships that will impact your net worth and help you overcome any challenge.
How Your “Weak Ties” Improve Your Chances of Success
The number one predictor of career success is the size and openness of your network, or what Paul likes to call “the strength of weak ties.” Don’t simply network within the bubble of your industry or profession’s immediate influence.
You need to branch out because you want to increase the size of your influence. Meet and network with people outside your immediate sphere. Learn to be comfortable forming those weak ties. It’s the strategy that will pay off in the long run.
You also can’t expect to build a network for the moment when you need it to make a lot of sales. No one wants to deal with someone who reeks of desperation. That’s why you need to build your network before you need it. People can smell if you’re only reaching out to get something for yourself.
You Need to Know Networking Isn’t About Selling
You shouldn’t be surprised, most people suck at selling. Too many people try to use networking to make up for their lack of sales skills. Don’t think networking will help you sell a specific product or service. Your focus can’t just be on selling, even if that is your goal. That’s a strategy that doesn’t work, besides it’s just tacky.
Instead, networking is a great way to practice relationship building. Your networking efforts should be largely free of messages about your product or service. According to Paul, “The best salespeople believe that the the relationships that they build are the best parts of their business.
All Successful Relationships Are Built on Mutual Trust
People have to trust you, before they will work with you. When building a relationship, you have to be able to offer something of value and expect nothing in return. According to Paul, “You have to invest in relationships . . . and keep in mind that each person and every relationship is different.”
How can you offer something of value if you don’t know a person. The best interaction you can do as a relationship seller is connect your buyer with someone else. If you do that, you give them access to somebody that adds value to them. (This is the biggest reason why LinkedIn is so popular. When you introduce a new connection to someone they really need to know, three great things happen:
- The new connection is genuinely grateful.
- The person you introduced them to is flattered that you thought of them.
- Both parties remember you as the connector.
You Should Personalize Your Approach for Everyone
When you’re trying to get a person to trust you, you can’t handle every interaction exactly the same way. If you want to gain someone’s trust, you have to be willing to work hard to gain it. You have to work for that trust because no-one is obligated to trust you. Just flattering someone, is insufficient. Just like when marketing, you need to form a connection through personalization.
Your best-case scenario is an introduction to someone because of a strong, shared relationship. If you don’t have that strong relationship, then you need to be strategic. There’s a personalization hierarchy, according to Paul. “First, focus on the personal side, your shared interests and passions. Then look at what they’re doing with their company. Finally, you need to look at their work history.”
Another great way to develop trusting relationships is by reaching out regularly to everyone in your network. Thank them for what they’ve done for you, find out how they are doing, and make sure they haven’t forgotten you.
You See How Networks are for Your Business and Personal Life
Never forget that your extended network goes far beyond your work relationships. Paul advises that “The best business relationships you have are probably not from your current job or any job at all.” To network effectively, you have to think about all of your relationships.
What’s your networking bottom line? You should always be developing your network, even if you happen to be at a job you don’t like or care about. You never know who you’ll meet. Where you’ll meet them. Or where you’ll be in another year or two.
Unlike any single job or company, your network stays with you forever.
Life and Work Are All About Relationships
A lot of people ask Paul what he’s doing since his sale of Eloqua? He said he’s always looking for the next opportunity. When I asked him why he would want to go through that again, he had a simple response.
Paul replied, “I think if you ask any successful person, they would say the best part of building a company is working with the team you get and the customers you get. It’s about the relationships you build on the journey, even if you fail.”
So always remember, Your network is your net worth. If you think you could be better at networking, then start small and build on that. Try connecting with at least one person a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you’ve fallen out of touch with or someone you’ve been meaning to get in touch with.
Whatever you do, get into the habit of building and cultivating relationships. Build trust over time. By the time you need assistance, you’ll know who to trust. Focusing on your relationships will help you grow as an entrepreneur throughout your career.