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Cultivating Relationships? Keep It Real!
by Rose Tummarello

Productive business relationships are the foundation of success, but in today’s social media-centric world, relationships are often diminished to mere connections that simply don’t carry much weight. By cultivating real relationships based on personal interaction, face-to-face meetings, and collaborative experience, you can best realize the awesome prosperity potential of having the right people in your business life!

For me, most key business relationships have come either from referrals or from those I met at a networking event while talking over a drink or an hors d’oeuvre, or perhaps at a casual breakfast meeting. These environments help me to get to know people for who they truly are. I feel this is the best starting point for cultivating business relationships, because it helps me to identify which people belong in my circle. During light conversation, I can get a sense if an individual has a positive attitude, is a good listener, and is going to take care of me on a professional level. I also find out if we share values that are especially important to me: philanthropy, communication, and customer service. By being mindful of these characteristics, I can tell if we’re going to hit it off or not.

Equally important is intuition, or using my gut. When an initial meeting culminates in a good feeling, then I will take it to the next level and start learning about the business services an individual is offering. Intuition is invaluable when it comes to cultivating relationships — but you can’t really use intuition over the internet!

The next stage in cultivating business relationships is working together. By carefully selecting the right person for a business relationship, I can accelerate my path to success. When the right person is in place, I don’t have to worry about my calls not being returned, my deadlines not being met, or my questions not being answered. If I already know a person, I can be certain he or she will take care of me. Working together in productive harmony only strengthens the relationship further.

After finding the right people for a business relationship and experiencing their consistently exemplary services over a period of time, the real growth begins. At this point, I can start sharing some of the wealth of my valuable business relationships with the new additions to my circle. With firsthand experience of great collaboration, I can start sharing name and contact information for my new relationships with other people in my network. Because I carefully choose the right business relationships and test those relationships early on, I can facilitate new connections with confidence. Anything short of complete confidence wouldn’t be enough, because my reputation is on the line.

When business relationships are rooted in reality rather than random social media connections, the growth that follows is robust and organic. Make no mistake: social media does have some business relationship value, but when it comes to cultivating those stellar lifelong business partnerships that elevate you to the next level, the best strategy is to keep it real!

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