One of the most important pieces of powerful networking is building successful, long-term relationships. That’s why people who take a short-term view to networking usually fail – you can’t take shortcuts to building relationships. Just as your personal relationships take time to nurture and grow, so too do your professional connections.
It does take time to build connections with the people in your network, but you can accelerate the process by focusing on the quality of your interactions – and always keep your networking goals in mind. There is an old sales adage that says “people do business with people they know, like, and trust.” These are good guidelines for building your professional relationships:
Know – For your network to be an effective source of business, people have to know who you are. You have to come to their mind when they think about your field or industry; so that when they have a need or a referral in your area of expertise, you come to mind first.
Like – How do you make someone like you? It’s not about pandering to them and being inauthentic. The best and easiest way to get people to like you is to find connections with them. We like people who are like us, so find the common ground that you share with individuals in your network.
Trust – The best way to develop trust is to always have the other person’s best interests in mind. Be focused on finding win/win scenarios, and always follow through on what you say you’ll do. You build trust in the professional world the same way you build trust in your personal relationships.