Relationships are truly important and paramount if you are an entrepreneur. Many times I see that this is where many beginning entrepreneurs fall short. We’ve seen it multiple times at networking mixers. There may be a bit of rapport building where we ask the basics of F.O.R.M. If you don’t know what that acronym is, it stands for Family, Occupation, Recreational, and Message. These are a series of rapport building topics that most go through in order to have someone “know, like, and trust” you. If they know, like, and trust you, they will do business with you or at least refer business to you. One of the top keys of advice I ever received to build genuine relationships will always stay in my mind. We’ve all heard it before; “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” The fact about business is that you can possess the best salesman skills in the world, but they will fall upon closed ears if the relationship is not there. Remember, “It’s not all about what you say, but more about how you make them feel.” Make people feel human and not some stepping-stone to your next sale. Then when you have that, nourish those relationships and they will grow.

So with that being said, here are a few tips on how you should build true and genuine relationships.

1. Be Genuine. 

This is such a simple step. It’s about being selfless and genuinely wanting to get to know someone on a deeper level than just what is their occupation. It’s about spending time to get to know them without rushing relationships. When you rush the conversation, it is sensed and felt by the other person. Take your time to actually get to know the person as a person beyond what’s on the surface.

2. Ask Questions. 

Have you ever had someone ask you only surface questions? What I mean by surface questions is the basic questions we ask people to get them comfortable prior to asking the REAL questions we want to get to. Don’t get me wrong; FORM is a good script to follow. However, rather than asking basic questions, how would asking authentic and thought provoking questions improve the content of the verbal dialogue? I love watching people’s faces light up with a million dollar smile when I ask them about their hopes and dreams for the future.

3. VIP Treatment. 

You don’t have to spend tons of money to build up relationships. Treating someone VIP is more than that. Whenever I connect with the people in my mastermind group, I genuinely am excited to see them all again. I love to catch up with them and make it ALL ABOUT THEM. I love to catch up on what is going on in their business. Nine times out of ten, I will leave them with golden nuggets of advice or resources that will help them overcome challenges.

4. Make Others a Priority. 

Have you ever been in those situations where you meet someone at a networking mixer or just while you’re out and about? Everything goes well during that initial meeting and you both really hit it off. However, when it’s time to schedule a meeting to get to know each other more, the challenge is getting schedules aligned. When I became a more genuine person I really felt the passion of knowing others. I started treating everyone as a priority. By keeping my meetings, I have been able to build strong relationships where the other person knows that I value them, our relationship, and their time.

5. Be a Giver. 

One of my biggest practices in life is to see how I can now help others first. I don’t go into relationships looking for what I can get out of it. I look for value as far as like-mindedness. Beyond that, I remain fully present in the conversation and make mental notes of how I can help that other person. Whether it is recommending a book, a resource, or a contact, be the person who gives value.

In a nutshell, through developing yourself as a genuine person, and practicing effective networking, these five keys become apart of who you are. Relationships are built strong with these keys, and to quote an all time favorite, 

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” – Dale Carnegie