“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success” as Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company, said.

Populus Select has just celebrated its 12th year in business and in that time the company has formed tremendous and lasting relationships with companies around the world.

Sim Hall, company founder says “We invest a lot of time into finding key contacts then building relationships knowing that this time is time well spent. The more potential clients know about us, the more likely they are to become clients. The more we know about our clients, the better our service to them is. It’s a win win.”

Creating Better Business Relationships

It is one thing to give out and collect dozens of business cards at a networking event. It is another thing entirely to nurture these relationships into something meaningful.

Humans are social animals. Although we are buttoned up and professional at work, we still want and need to connect with other people and find common purpose or values.

The good news is that today it is easier than ever to contact clients, partners, customers, competitors, no matter where they are in the world.

Social media, email and video calls make it possible to connect with more people at the speed of light. To be truly successful, you need more than surface-level relationships; you need to forge lasting bonds if you want to grow your business and this is where old-fashioned phone calls, face-time, and face to face meetings come in.

While it’s easy to contact new people, how do you nurture these professional connections and turn them into sustainable, profitable working relationships?

  1. Pay attention to the details

A business relationship is not too different from a personal relationship. Once you have established a name, job title and company, make some time to focus on information and interesting facts about your business contact including personal details, for example a hobby. These details should not be hard to remember if you are genuinely interested in the person.

These details might seem superfluous, but they give you an immediate point of connection the next time you talk to your contact. The more you find out, the more it is likely you will find a point of genuine mutual interest.

  1. Remember that it takes two to tango

Good business relationship building relies on following through with your contact. Do what you say you are going to do. If you can’t, be honest. Contact your connections to see how they are getting on, without being a nuisance or taking up their valuable time too often; treat people how you would like to be treated.

If you make a connection with someone, make it an even trade, reminding yourself of the saying it takes two to tango. Offer your time and expertise in exchange for their help or support, so your contact never feels like you are taking advantage of them.

  1. Quality not quantity

It is not possible to have hundreds of genuine contacts so do not try to. Invest in a handful of good contacts and be prepared to spend that most valuable of resources, time.

Invest in the relationship for the long haul.

  1. Openness

Being as open and as transparent as possible within the realms of reasonable business practice helps your business contacts understand your business better. Sharing some vulnerability is also be a useful way of signalling honest intent and invites a closer sharing of confidences, cementing the human connection.

  1. Life outside of business

A final reminder that a business relationship is like a personal relationship: it requires time, energy and investment. Creating good business connections is not a destination, but a process which requires careful thought and an investment of time. You never know when the right contact will help you grow your organisation. Invest in others, and they will invest in you.

Populus Select is an executive search company which puts investment in its client relationships at the heart of its operations.

If you would like to find out further about how we could support your business please get in touch with our Associate Researcher, Ella Workman; ella.workman@populusselect.com