GREAT article and insights Peter. As a biz dev pro, I often wish ALL the folks I meet understood these principles. I am curious what you think about those "speed networking" events out there? Personally, and as an advocate for quality over quantity, I just can't understand how you can refer someone you spoke with for only 3 minutes.
Making business relationships work: What’s in it for me?
There is a universal rule in laying out a deal and getting the parties interested. Before people listen to an opportunity with an open mind, everyone involved must get the answer to the following question: What’s in it for me?
One of the primary goals in establishing a business relationship is for it to be mutually beneficial to all parties involved. For this to happen, everyone involved needs to know their role in the relationship and the expectations of others. Once the relationship parameters are set, opportunities are presented and either consummated or rejected.
There is a universal rule in laying out a deal and getting the parties interested. Before people listen to an opportunity with an open mind, everyone involved must get the answer to the following question: What’s in it for me? Sounds rather self-centered but the deal must establish or strengthen a relationship, make the party money, provide some needed component of another deal or fulfill some need for recognition or personal gratification. So, it makes sense to get the question answered early and then move along with the details. This is especially important when trying to solicit referrals from someone.
People generally will make referrals if they themselves have been satisfied in dealing with the referred party. Normally, the referral provides them with some sort of gratification that they are helping another without putting themselves at risk of embarrassment. Another form of referral provides compensation to the person making the referral. Typically, people will look at monetary compensation as icing on the cake of recommending another person’s goods or services that they themselves were satisfied with. However, the seller usually has no problem with paying for referrals since they typically represent “found business” that they would have missed out on. So, sellers: offer a commission for referrals and make the offer early. Believe it that everyone likes a commission of some sort as it gives confirmation that they did a good job; another universal human need.
But what about referrals from people who have not bought from you? These aren’t going to happen unless you establish a personal relationship or the referral is a re-referral (sort of like a re-gift). In the virtual world, re-referrals are replacing traditional marketing as the wealth of customer reviews available make it easy to get a feel for the seller. How often have you Googled a product or restaurant, seen bad or suspect reviews and looked elsewhere? This has put sellers on notice that they better provide good service or the word will get out and bury them.
Business relationships are like personal relationships and may, in fact, last longer. If the relationship is built on a solid understanding of the mutual benefits, it will multiply into other relationships as the referrals and re-referrals mount. A simple rule of relationships is that one should be forthcoming and giving in a relationship and not one-sided. It is not a case of “what can you do for me?” it is, rather, “what can we do for each other?”
In summary, business relationships, like personal relationships, are based on trust and satisfaction between the parties. Each party needs to know their role and what to expect from the other. Successful relationships are mutually beneficial and should result in future relationships with others.
Learn more about the author, Pete VanSon.
Comment on this article
Posted by Sandy Jones-Kaminski, San Francisco, California |
Jan 27, 2010
Posted by Pete VanSon, Clearwater, Florida |
Jan 27, 2010
I have never been to a speed network event and would agree it wouldn't give me much confidence, However, if you find or start a network group that meets often and has a decent number of members, that works. In Tampa, their is one called the Tampa Bay Tech Forum (TBTF) tha is the best networking group I have ever seen. Google them, an maybe emulate them.
Good luck and thanks for the kind words. See other such articles on my blog, www.arriveblog.com. So sales info, just info to share.
- business referrals
- business relationships