One of the best ways to frame business relationships is as a means of exchange. As with any relationship, in order to get, you have to give. That means forging equal business partnerships with other parties, which in turn means networking with others.
Of course, knowing that networking is necessary for a thriving business is one thing. Actually being able to network with other businesses requires the ability to read and work relationships. These tips can help negotiating teams do just that, solidifying deals that are beneficial for both parties.
- How to Ask for Favors and From Whom
All networking is, at its core, an exchange of favors. That means knowing who to ask and when. On the one hand, asking indiscriminately can give a company a reputation for neediness. On the other hand, never asking for help can come across as a case of pride coming before the fall.
Ultimately, it is best to ask others at a time that suits both parties and in such a way as to make the favor seem as if it is an investment. If the other party can be convinced that this favor is really an investment in their own future, one that will repay them many times over later on, they are more likely to give what the asking party needs to get.
- Relationships First
That does not mean that favors should be the first thing on the networking parties’ minds. Before they get into the details of who wants what, it is vital to build first a personal and then a professional relationship. This is especially true when networking with companies in societies that emphasize pre-deal relationships. For example, Latin American business culture stresses the importance of building personal rapport before engaging in business deals.
- Collaboration Is Key
Above all, successful networking requires collaboration. It is not advisable to try and network by “dominating” the boardroom. Rather, viewing contemporaries as collaborators can help convey the even footing of the parties, which in turn can improve rapport and make clearer what both sides want and need from one another. Common goals can forge networking alliances and collaboration can make all that more apparent.
Keeping these tips in mind can make collaboration easier and more profitable for all parties involved.