Jan Gordon
September 27, 2015

11 Steps To Building A Business Relationship

By Wade Harman

An old blind man was sitting on a street corner begging for money.

On a cardboard sign, next to his cup, he had written “Blind, Please Help”.

No one was giving him any money.

A young advertising writer walked by and saw the blind man, his sign, and the empty cup, and saw all of the people passing the beggar by, completely unmoved, let alone giving him any money.

The advertising writer took a sharpie from his pocket and grabbed the cardboard sign and re-wrote the sign and placed it beside the man.

Immediately, people began placing money in the blind man’s cup.

After a while, when the cup was full, the blind man asked a stranger to tell him what the new sign said.

“It says”, the stranger told him, “It’s a beautiful day. You can see it, I cannot.”

I overheard that story the other day and thought it was useful for this article.  Now, let’s open our eyes to understanding how to build better relationships.

Seeing It For Yourself

As a business marketer, you may be approaching relationships in the wrong way. You are sending the wrong message to the people that you come in contact with.

There are certain steps that you must take in order to create a great relationship in business and skipping from step one to step six doesn’t work for a lot of people, therefore, your cup stays empty a lot of the time.

What you need is a guide that will give you better results. A sign, of sorts, that will create a road map to the perfect relationship for your brand.

Until you open your eyes and understand that what you’re doing may not be the best approach to building relationships, you may not see any results. It’s important to see for yourself that you may need another sign to hold up to the people that will be interested in what you have to say to them or do for them.

The Relationship Marketing Funnel

For the past couple of years I have been monitoring and researching the basic steps that involve business relationships.

From my notes and experiences, I have designed steps you can take to use in learning the basics of bringing someone from a stranger to being introduced to their allies in the future.

However, it doesn’t happen in those direct steps.

Remember, seeing someone from a distance, and wanting to build a relationship with them is quite some time from getting introduced into their inner circle. But this graphic will show you some of my thoughts.

steps to a business relationship infographic

Would you like me to explain this?  Let’s get into it.

#1. Scouting

This is your starting point for your business.

While it is fine to build relationships with people who are interested in your brand (you want that), you also want to create those relationships with your peers as well.

This is where scouting your market comes in handy.

Where do you congregate the most?  What are some of the questions you are answering and the discussions you are having?  Who is usually involved in those conversations, and who is talking about the same things?

These are the people that you want in your camp.  It’s not that you need thousands of people to build relationships with, it has been proven that only a handful of relationships are needed to make your business successful.  Search for these people.

Scouting is an important part of the process.

It’s not a social media customer or buyer persona that you would create, but, for lack of a better word, I’ll call it an influencer persona.

Who is your perfect relationship?  What would that person do, what would they say to people and how would they help?  Why would you want to build a relationship with them?

Create an influencer persona to start the relationship building processClick To Tweet

Create your persona and start going where you think this person is and compare conversations with the persona that you have created in order to pick the right moment for the introduction.  Again, make sure you understand that this relationship will not only benefit you, but also benefit the person that you’re about to introduce yourself to.

#2. Introduction

This is where a lot of people get it wrong.

Usually people see a person of influence, and while they know that person because they have seen them in their social stream a lot, they sometimes forget that this person may not know them.

Therefore, and you know what happens, they skip the introduction and start asking for things.

Again, the outcome is negative and it leaves a bad taste in the influencers mouth about a person they didn’t know, thinking all they wanted was to get something out of them.

Don’t Be Out Of The Blue

When you’re working in an online setting it may not be the best thing to introduce yourself out of the blue to a person with whom you would like to start a relationship with.

Let this take place naturally.  When you find yourself congregating in the same spaces as the person of interest eventually you will have a conversation with them and they will get to know you like this.  I have found that this is the best possible scenario to start a relationship.

An organic relationship will blossom all by itself and the beauty of it is, if you share the same goals and ideals, likes and dislikes, then it will happen.

#3. Value Provided & Consistency Given

Once you have established yourself as a fixture in their community, use your knowledge to create value that they will start seeing in their stream.

This value can be through blog posts that you will share, live shows that you are on, and even simple conversations that happen throughout social.  If you’re consistently providing value then that brings you easily to…

#4. Respect

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the respect of Gary Vaynerchuck?  Jay Baer?  Michael Stelzner?  Sure it would.  And respect goes without saying.

In fact, in this psychological study, researchers found that so many people wanted the respect of the peers so badly that they would have done anything to get it.  Even discredit themselves if need be.

That feeling you have in the pit of your stomach towards a person of interest is more than likely the desire to have them respect you on a personal or business level.

The attribute of respect comes after they see that you are consistent.  But that’s not all.  In order to gain the respect of someone you must be doing a lot of the things listed below:

  • Giving more than you’re getting.
  • Offer your respect first.
  • Add value for others.
  • Always be honest.
  • Be aware of the feelings of others.
  • It’s not all about you all the time.
  • Don’t just say you do something, live it!
  • Be appreciative of others.
  • Do extra work for people.
  • Be inspiring to people

the list goes on.  I grabbed a lot of these ideas from Inc.com while researching this post.  Here are 99 ways to get people to respect you.

#5. Trust

Once they start seeing the consistency and your selfless acts of kindness towards them in the business arena, they will start to take a closer look at what you’re saying.

If you feel like you’re all alone in the world of blogging or social media, don’t feel that way.  There is always someone watching to see what you will do or say.  Right from the start its important to have an ethical gauge that will meter you from time to time because people DO watch.

So, you’re bringing the best content you possibly can, and it’s helping them, or perhaps it’s indirectly helping them.  What I mean by that is the fact that even though they may have already known what you were saying, they can see that your words are having an affect on other people.

This causes trust to form.  If you can consistently bring the best possible content every time that person with whom you introduced yourself to three months ago will start to shift your way.

#6. Loyalty

When all the cards have fallen your way you will begin to see people expecting your content to come out.  They are there to have the conversations and read the articles or be at the event that you’re going to be at in support of you.

In order to create loyalty one must first be loyal.

Remember when I said it’s not all about you?

While keeping your content awesome, having conversations and engaging with people, you also have to remember to be loyal back.  And more often than not you will have to be loyal first.

Do you have a problem sharing other people’s content?

You may want to rethink that.

It wasn’t until I realized that I had to become loyal first was when I started to receive loyalty back from other people.  If you’re wondering to yourself Why should I have to make the first move? then you have to remind yourself that if you didn’t, none of this would ever get done!  You can’t wait on others to build your business.  Go out and build their’s first and watch as they come to your rescue later.

Create loyalty on social media by curating other people’s content.Click To Tweet

#7. Becoming Allies

Once you have someone’s loyalty, then you have started to begin your journey into an intimate relationship.  Loyalty breeds all kinds of positive ramifications for your brand, the first being that you will have created an awesome ally for your business.

An ally is someone that you can count on, someone that believes in the things that you do.  And when you are loyal first, you have shown them that you are worthy to be let into their allied base.

#8. Collaboration

Allies bring many things to the table.  Now, you’re not working by yourself.  You have the means and the resources of other people at your fingertips to help your business.

At this point you will probably start seeing the relationship blossom to a deeper level.  Phone calls will happen, private hangouts and chats will rise up on your screen and you will begin to “see” for the first time what a great relationship can do for your business.

Collaboration is a powerful attribute when you form allies with others.

Use this opportunity to create a mastermind group, or a base camp, of sorts where all of your Allies can come to have private conversations with each other.  All of the ideas happen here and collaboration is encouraged.

Wasn’t too sure of doing that webinar?  Now that you have made an ally with a show host, you can produce the show’s content and they can get in front of the camera.

Many different examples of collaboration happen at this level.

#9. Amplification of Content

Another attribute of having allies is the fact that now your content reach has doubled, tripled even!  What used to get you 20 +1’s on Google Plus now does 40!

Reaching more people means that you have the opportunity to create more introductions and eventually create more allies to your brand.

#10. Receiving & Doing Favors

Someone said What’s the use of a good relationship if you can’t capitalize on it?


Why do we build business relationships?

Honestly, we want to get something out of it.  No one wants to talk about getting though.  We have all heard people tell others that it’s better to give than to get.  Be a servant to people, etc.

All of that is great, but we have to understand that we’re in an era of “asking”.  We live in a world where everything happens fast for us.  You can send a text message clear across the world in a matter of seconds, microwave a full meal in minutes, we’re not used to waiting.

So when I see people telling others to wait, I know that it’s not in their nature to want to wait for that prize at the end of the tunnel.

But those people that realize how favors are cashed in, will start to understand that its only a matter of time before the other person in the relationship will feel compelled to react to the things that we have done for them.

Sure, it’s tough to wait it out, wondering if they will ever realize what you have done for them, but if you can, favors are a great reward in a business relationship.

#11. Introduction To Allies

When you have gone full circle in the relationship, you pretty much know everything there is to know about the person with whom you’ve built a relationship with.

Pretty soon, you will start to be engaged in conversation with people they know, like, and trust.  Being an ally with a person often puts you in a setting that allows you to be noticed by other influential people in another allied camp.

This is called breaking into someone’s inner circle and it is the coup de tat of that inner circle by your brand.  No, it’s nothing violent, but you have indirectly approached another circle by creating a relationship with one person that is involved in that said circle.

They already have the trust of the group, and, since they trust you as well, it is trust by familiarity.  This gives you the opportunity to start the whole funnel all over again with other people in your niche.

The Final Thought

Don’t make relationships too hard.

The easiest way to build a relationship with someone is to simply be yourself, mistakes and all, wide open for the world to see.

Relationships in business are being made every day by people that haven’t a clue as to what they’re doing.  While they may not be an expert at psychology or sociology, they are an expert at one thing, being themselves.

You are great at being YOU.  Don’t change that.  Take the graphic above and use it as a roadmap so you will be able to create goals for yourself and your relationships.

What do you think?  Do you have another suggestion to put on the chart?  Do you have a story about a business relationship that you learned from?  I would love to hear about it!


Wade HarmanWade Harman

Head Honcho at Cornerstone Marketing
My main social media marketing strategy with my blog is to build on a larger fan base by connecting individually with each person. This creates a more targeted clientele base and eventually leads to more sales. Building a site that has integrity is what I’m all about in my social media marketing strategies. This is also known widely as relationship marketing, of which I practice every day with my social strategy.
This article was originally titled 11 Steps To A Business Relationship and was published on wadeharman.com and is republished here with permission
Lead/Featured Image: Copyright: ‘http://www.123rf.com/profile_lightwise‘ / 123RF Stock Photo
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Top 100 #Socialmedia Global Influencer | CEO of Curatti, Publisher of #B2B #Content | Author/ Digital Marketing Strategist | http://appearoo.com/JanGordon