I’ve been preaching for five-plus years that the key to building business is building your authentic relationships. And then last night, business guru Ted McGrath reminded me that, as much as you invest in Internet marketing, it is a shot into the ether because the real key to getting people to come to you and stay with you is strategic partnerships.
Relationships. It always comes back to that.
In my field in particular, public relations, clients turn to us because we have honed relationships with media individuals so our calls are answered, our emails responded to, our pitches picked up. Without that one-to-one knowing, that familiarity, you’re just another cry in the dark.
When I was a full-time journalist, it was the same. Who you know first, what you know second. I could always conduct research on a new-to-me topic. But could I always open a door that others deemed hard to open? If I had good relationships, yes.
And to even get the assignments, well, that came from relationships to. An editor is much more likely to respond to a query from a writer he/she has worked with before or met at a conference or shaken a hand, listened to the cadence of a voice, than someone who again, shoots in the dark to hope a person will respond.
It can be a hard thing to start in a career when you don’t have relationships. Even getting the interview, getting the job, can come down to who you know.
That’s why it is so essential for just-starting-out folks in any field to cultivate mentors, colleagues, real relationships where they have respect for one another and listen intently. Learn, always. Open your ears to open your eyes.
In time, you never know where those relationships will take you. But that’s not why you build them. You build them because you have integrity and humility and you know you don’t know everything.
You know every person out there has something important to teach you. You know that the flame of brilliance resides in each and every one of us and only comes out if nurtured.
You know that there is so much more to know. So you listen. So you focus. So you build a relationship from the ground up because you cannot do well alone. And you give more than you take because that’s how relationships build anyway. You give because it comes from the heart and because it is right and because it feels good to give.
Then just watch what happens. You won’t be sorry.