July 22, 2014
Posted by: Monica Selby
Recently a friend told me about a group of men he had been hanging out with.
“I’m the youngest by at least 20 years,” he said. “And they’re all successful, run multiple businesses each. The talk is crazy: politics, religion, business. And if you didn’t know they were friends, you would think a fist fight was always about to break out.”
“They get together regularly?” I asked.
“Every day.” I was stunned. Every. Day?!
I don’t even see my own business partners every day, and we’re still in the honeymoon phase where we like each other.
Yet this group of men--yes, all men, that’s another topic--take time away from their businesses every day just to hang out.
They’ve learned the lesson of relationships, and rather than hurting them, this time together actually helps all of them.
We Do Business With People We Know
You’re familiar with the typical networking event: people standing around with cups of wine or beer, name tags in place. We either stand with the people we know, or awkwardly insert ourselves into conversations with strangers. Exchange business cards. Schedule coffee.
None of this is bad in its own right. Like dating, you have to meet your lifelong business friends somehow.
The problem--like dating--is when we sit on the surface with lots of people instead of really making an effort to get know a few.
Of course not everyone is your BFF, and it’s not necessary to know people deeply to work out mutually beneficial business deals. But, when you get to know some people really well, you’ll automatically know who has your back.
We Do Business With People We Like
Beyond knowing people well, we’re also wired to do business with people we like.
This could be on the surface level: “So-and-so seems like a good guy. I’ll hire him to do my logo.”
But it could also be more in depth than that: “I’ve been friends with her for years. Of course she’s the one I call for PR work.”
When you sincerely like the people you do business with, it makes the process easier and more enjoyable.
We Do Business With People We Trust
Everywhere I turn I hear about drama in business. Backstabbing co-founders, lying employees. And even when there isn’t actual drama, there’s often a lot of general suspicion going around.
But, when you put effort into actual relationships, you begin to build real trust. And, when you really trust someone, you’re much more likely to do good deals together.
Time and effort are the only ways to discover who you really trust.
Doing Business Through Relationships
Now, I know, very few of us can afford to literally take time out every day. Even my friend only joins the group occasionally. They’ve reached a level of success most of us are still working for.
But the lesson is still there.
Building relationships to build business is a long term strategy. You won’t see benefit quickly. You can’t “fail fast.”
Yet, as I’m sure those men could attest, taking time to not just find new relationships but deepen current ones will absolutely pay off in the long run.