Relationships

Personal vs Professional Relationships: The Key to Business Success

39 comments

Always focus on creating friendships first, and develop business deals later.

I never seek out relationships with people on a business level.

That’s lame if you ask me.

And this is the mistake so many make.

They reach out to someone and instantly think about how that person can benefit them professionally or in their business.

Get over yourself already.  You make me want to puke when you do that.

Now I’m not perfect and I know there have been times where I’ve met someone and wanted to know down the line if there was ever potential for us to work together.

But, I’m never discontinuing them as a friend or useful business contact even if I don’t see any potential for us to do business in the near future.

Why?

  • You never know who they know, and how powerful their network could be for you
  • Helping others always trumps asking for help first.  The law of reciprocity is always on your side
  • I’m a Midwestern boy and believe in the Golden Rule, plus it’s just good manners

I’ve been blessed to build a 7 figure business, launch new companies, do over 400 webinars with affiliate partners, speak at over 100 live events, launch new products, consult for major companies, and work on a number of other fun business projects… all because I’ve become friends on a personal level with these influencers and decision makers. (I’ll stop bragging now, I promise)

If I would have gone into these relationships by thinking “how can you help me grow my business” instead of thinking “wow, you are a cool person… let’s be friends” then probably more than half of these deals would never have happened.

Build Friendships First and Business Later

Alright.  So what are the keys to building friendships first and not focusing on how that person can make you money?

It’s simple.

Here are a few things I always focus on when I introduce myself to someone new (both in person and online).

1.  Ask Questions

There’s nothing more people love than to talk about themselves, and their success.  Ask about what their passions are, what they like to do for fun, and about their life outside of business. Asking questions shows you are interested in them and that you aren’t not a selfish prick.

2.  Be Genuine

Be interested in what they have to say, don’t just nod and act interested as people see right through that.  Julia Allison, someone I recently met, is amazing at this skill.  She asks interesting questions, smiles a lot, makes others laugh, and makes every person feel like her friend.  Make sure you are genuine.

3.  Make Connections on the Spot

When I get around to learning about what type of business someone is in, I instantly think about 2-3 people who would be a perfect connection for them.  I often call that person right on the spot and make a quick intro on the phone, then follow up with an email intro that day with others they should connect with.

4.  Use Eye Contact

This is a big one.  I recently met a well known marketer who has made millions online. However, when in conversation with someone I was good friends with he wouldn’t look him in the eyes.  He only looked around the room as to see “who else should I connect with that can help me out?“.   This shocked me and I felt it was extremely rude and embarrassing.

Eye contact can make or break a relationship (both friend and business related).  When listening to others, always focus on their eyes (with a calm smile of course) as this will encourage them to be more open and welcoming to you.  Read my good friend Michael Ellsberg’s book The Power of Eye Contact also, there are some great nuggets of info in there!

5.  Continue the Follow Up

You aren’t a real friend with someone unless you stay connected.   Otherwise you are just an acquaintance of someone you met one time.  Make sure to follow up with them by connecting in person, via the phone, email, and through social networks.  The more you continue to interact with that new friend, the stronger the friendship becomes and more potential opportunities will come from it.

Here’s to Friendships

Friends are everything to me.  Business relationships are great, but they are even better when you’ve created a friendship first.

If you are looking to gain more influence or build your business then these are just a few principles I’d follow when meeting new people.

##

What are some best practices you have when you meet people?  Are you trying to think about ways they can help you… or do you focus on them first, and building a personal connection?  I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below and feel free to share this with your friends on Twitter and Facebook

 

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27 comments
NuVision Abroad
NuVision Abroad

It is always nicer to work with people you like and get on with. You go the extra mile.  Whereas when you work for arseholes who treat you like an invisible battery hen in a glasshouse you just cant wait to get out the office and get a beer or go home !   

TerraBohlmann
TerraBohlmann

Great post, Lewis. So refreshing to have someone say it....The old way of being a sneaky salesperson is gone. I know I want do business with someone I also want to be friends with...it's just a more fun way to work. 

DinoGomez
DinoGomez

Another original and extremely insightful post! I look forward to meeting you one day Lewis!

Sai_Preet
Sai_Preet

one of my best practices : when i meet (new) people is the intuition of whether i should continue to connect with them in first place or let be....

LenFerrara
LenFerrara

Great post Lewis. Loved the idea of "making connections on the spot". Awesome! Have to say, I never even thought of that. That, is huge! Thanks for the ideas.

LindaBarnby
LindaBarnby

When I was growing up, I didn't understand business at all. It scared me. "Business" seemed to be a "thing" unto itself, all corporate-y, stodgy and un-fun. Not to mention inhuman. It has been great to learn that business is just about people and for people and run by people. When we remember that, connecting with people as humans first becomes easy.

creativecaroline
creativecaroline

Would love a post on what to do when friends hit you up for business but don't want to pay...I am surrounded by many great friends but I could easily spend my life serving them and not making a penny...

MARLdblE
MARLdblE

What I love about this post is that you truly practice what you preach. In my opinion you've mastered this stuff, Lewis. But the great part is - you're genuine about it. A lot of people can read this advice and try to apply it, but if they don't have a genuine interest this advice doesn't matter. Prospecting and networking are two different things and I think you've clearly articulated that difference here.

BrandonGarland
BrandonGarland

One of my favorite posts so far! I was just pondering on this today and how some people who are experts only want to receive and forget about GIVING first. Become and Expert. Give. Then Receive. Thanks Lewis!

vilnyckyj
vilnyckyj

Lewis - very cool post and I agree with you 100%. I love meeting people and through the years I have become friends with many of my suppliers, vendors, business partners. And I would much rather do business with friends! I'm always looking to become friends with people I meet (whether in business or in social settings) and as you mentioned it's super fun to connect people together too.

Do you have any advice on how to "build friendships first" with people that you are connecting with for the first time on a networking basis? I recently started my own marketing consulting company and am now getting in touch with people who I've been referred to. Of course the ultimate objective is to obtain a client, whether through them or someone they know, however I would like to get to know them first, build a relationship and then go from there. I truly believe this is the best course of action. Any advice on how to word this when you first call people to introduce yourself? I don't want to come across as self-serving. Thanks and I'm enjoying following your tweets and posts!

Vera

NDA
NDA

Loved, loved this post, Lewis, especially coming off the Tim Ferriss/Kimono event in Napa where clearly you practice what you preach, Lewis, Thank you! The Kimono event was outstanding because there was a connectedness and relationship that felt like authentic friendship established early on in the seminar. Everyone was psyched because intuitively we know everything flows from that place of human connectivity...everything. Another practice I would add is BE GENEROUS GIVING PROPS to people especially when introducing, it costs nothing to toot someone else's horn and it takes nothing away from you and people are grateful for the information on one side and acknowledged on the other side. WIN. WIN. A master at 25 is Charlie Hoehn check him out.

jakejordan
jakejordan

The world's best car salesman for years made a point to call his prospects and customers on their birthdays and anniversaries.

No strings attached.

He knew their names, kids names and some small fact about their life.

I love it +LewisHowes. If you can work this into culture then you never have to market a day in your life!

DelWratten
DelWratten

@JohnRomaniello I love your thoughts "people would prefer to do business with their friends" So many times over the years I have heard people say "oh, I couldn't make money off my friends!" You know, I would rather pay my friend any day for a service or a product and help them succeed in their work as an employee or a business owner, than to give my money to a complete stranger. Great post @LewisHowes - Friends First. (strange, I can't get your name to link Lewis??)

JohnRomaniello
JohnRomaniello

Seriously, perfect post. This is EXACTLY the way to go about it. Be cool, meet cool people. The rest will take care of itself--because, all other things being equal, people would prefer to do business with their friends.

MichaelEllsberg
MichaelEllsberg

@juliaallison Aren't you supposed to be on a dusty desert with over-the-top neon freak gear and goggles right about now?!

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@vilnyckyj for sure... the points I listed in the post are a great way to start... ask questions, be genuine, etc. I like asking lots of questions first and they will naturally ask you in return :)

LewisHowes
LewisHowes moderator

@NDA Susan, you rock. It was amazing to see how generous a person you are and how kind you are to so many. @charliehoehn is amazing as well and I have a lot of respect for him indeed!

DelWratten
DelWratten

@LewisHowes - yeah, I did that, and your name came up but wouldn't link... probably because I was in Internet Explorer. My bad.

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