Career Excellence Through Relationships is not only the tagline of my business but also a major part of my coaching program. Therefore many of my clients come to me to become better networkers or to build relationships more effectively with the right people.
I am very careful when selecting with whom I work with as a client because the right mindset can determine success or failure from the beginning and I want my clients to have the highest likelihood to succeed in their career transition in Switzerland.
Many people I talk to have the idea that networking is just about getting something for them. A job, a sale or a partnership that is really only beneficial to them.
They also in many cases neglect to maintain their network of existing contact and suddenly feel the rush to build new LinkedIn connections when they are in need for something. I think that is the wrong approach.
When to Start Building Relationships
Chances are that if you are reading this, you are actively thinking about a career transition or are currently looking for a job in Switzerland. If this is you, you should have started to build new business relationships and maintain your existing network a long time ago. I’m not saying it’s too late, it never is, but you need to get into the right mindset first, otherwise you will badly fail.
When you start building new relationships and keep in touch with people in your network without having the need for something, it’s easy to have the right mindset because your desperation trigger did not kick in yet.
However, once you are in job search mode, you have desperation as your evil follower. The longer you are in such a situation where you desperately need something, the worse it can get.
So the right time to start building meaningful relationships is when you don’t need anything.
The Wrong Question
Has this thought ever crossed your mind: “How can I get this person to do X for me?”, “What’s in it for me by talking to this person?” or “How can I benefit from this relationship?”
I think we all have thought this at least once. It’s ok, it’s human. The problem occurs when you don’t realize your thoughts and don’t shift your thinking to “How can I create value for this person” or “How can I help this person achieve her goal'”.
Of course, helping somebody or creating value while earning money or getting paid is the perfect combination. However, this does not occur in every relationship that you start building.
Your Closest Friends
Have a very good look at your closest friends and ask yourself on what these relationships are built on. Would these friends do almost anything for you? I bet.
But why? Mostly because you have created some sort of value for them in the past and they have done so for you. That’s called a mutually beneficial relationship.
What are these relationships built on as the foundation? I bet in most cases it’s sharing similar values. So why not focus on finding people inside and outside of your network who share similar values and build a strong relationship with them? Don’t you think that’s easier than reaching out to that C-level executive you have absolutely nothing in common with and the only thing you want is to sell him something (yourself or a services)?
What All Successful Relationships are Built on
All successful relationships, in business and personal life, are built on trust.
Unfortunately for the person trying to build these relationships actively, trust is not created in an instant.
Fortunately it’s not completely down to luck if a trusted relationship is built or not.
Here are a two factors that contribute to building trust that we can explore deeper:
1. Creating Value
By creating value for the other person you are setting the foundation for trust to be established. Value can be anything that moves the person closer to a goal or takes away pain.
If you help out a CEO of an organization expanding to the Middle East with your connections that can make his expansion smoother, you create value.
If you send a book from Amazon to an Executive you just heard speaking at an event that relates to the topic and you think it will resonate with him based on what he talked about, you create value.
If you connect two people based on similar values, a passion or interests in your network, you create value.
There are literally thousands of ways to create value. Think hard about how you can create value for your network and you will get a huge step closer to reach your goals.
2. Sharing Values
If you talk to somebody for 10-15 minutes, you usually get a pretty good feeling if your values align. If so, you “click” with the other person, the talk is passionate and you never have to think about what you should say next.
This is the foundation of a successful long term relationship. If you don’t share similar values, you won’t find too many of those spots where you can actually create value.
Keeping in Touch
Keeping in touch with people is hard. It’s not something that most of us see as an easy task and therefore most of us neglect it. The result is a bunch of contacts that we have not spoken to in years.
If you find ways to create value for the people in your network, keeping in touch gets much easier. Then it just comes down to having a great system in place to make it efficient and close to automated while still personal.
I use Contactually for that purpose. It gives me an amazing way to keep in touch with close to 1000 people on a personal basis one on one. It helps me save relevant information like articles or book recommendations and send them directly to the people I want to with a few clicks.
If you use this tool right, you can keep in touch with 1000 people in 15-30 minutes per day on a personal one on one basis. This can take your relationship building efforts to a completely new level. Give it a try.