The 7 Levels of Business Relationship Building

There are seven levels to building business relationships. They are:

Level 1: Internet “connecting”

Sites like LinkedIn that electronically share a network but no have no face-to-face contact. Before the Internet, everyone knew you could only do business over the phone for so long before you had to go meet the customer live. That dynamic hasn’t changed. People still want to be around people, not pictures of them.

Level 2: Card-flipping

Lead exchanges or Chamber meetings with the express purpose of gaining more business. Great in theory, not so great in reality. No trust is built because everyone has a sales agenda.

Level 3: Accidental networking

An example of this would be a cocktail party where you meet a good contact under a different pretense than strictly business. These connections are much better than Level 2 because more trust can be built. The difficulty with this method is that it is random. You can go to twenty events at the country club and never meet anyone you want to meet.

Level 4: Friends of friends

Tapping into the network of people that already know like and trust us occasionally works. However, the effectiveness varies and we don’t want to make our friends uncomfortable by pushing for business. Also, some friends simply don’t know anyone we need to know.

Level 5: Referral

What most businesses want are referrals. Referrals come from folks that have a high degree of trust in us. These include customers, vendors, and our connections. Every business wants and needs more referrals. However, they have no strategy to get them. More specifically, they lack the relationship building skills or tactics to gain the trust needed for referrals.

Level 6: Introduction

An introduction from a trusted source to a potential prospect or contact works out some of the time. An introduction typically involves someone that knows, likes, and trusts us to some extent. This person proactively thinks of us and connects us to a lead.

Level 7: Un-Networking

This methodology incorporates the 11 essential elements to TRUE networking which we call un-networking. Un-Networking is focused on relationship building between like-minded business people and the power of association. Once a solid relationship based on trust is established, the true networking can begin.

Click here to download our guide “The 14 Reasons People Don’t Refer”

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Mike Hufnagel
Mike Hufnagel
CEO, Performance Mechanical
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Level 7 Un-Networking