Boss Lady

The four phases of business relationships


To achieve the maximum benefit from networking, you need to understand the basics of how business relationships can progress.  Then you can decide how far you want to develop your relationships with various individuals.  There are four key elements to how a business relationship may progress.  They are sequential.

Exposure > Knowledge > Trust > Reciprocity

  • Exposure

    This one is simple.  In order to be referred, people need to know you exist.  So –

      • attend business networking events,
      • be active on social media,
      • write blogs or
      • circulate a newsletter.

    These will help you gain the exposure needed for your business to gain traction.  It’s fairly straight forward – unknown businesses do not receive work via word-of-mouth referrals.

  • Knowledge

    Once people know you exist, they need to learn the details of what you do in order to find the right referrals for you.  This means you must take the time to educate people so they are informed about who your ideal clients are, what services you can provide to them, how they benefit from those services and what the triggers are that indicate your services are needed.  Getting to this stage will result in what are called reactive referrals.  These are the referrals that require little or no effort from the referrer and, if you have lots of contacts, you can run your business at this level.

  • Trust

    Once you’ve established over time that you’re capable of providing quality service to the people you are referred to trust will develop and you will be viewed as the go-to in your field.  This is a lucrative position to be in if you have multiple sources referring clients your way.  Remember, trust can take a long time to establish and a heartbeat to lose so handle it delicately.

  • Reciprocity

    This is the holy grail of networking and cannot be achieved until Exposure, Knowledge and Trust have been established.  So, don’t be impatient.  When a business relationship has reached the reciprocity phase, each participant has the tools, knowledge, ability and, importantly, the desire to pass referrals to the other.  Giving people the desire to help each other is the critical ingredient for this most lucrative of business relationships.  This desire is founded on knowing that if I scratch your back, you’ll scratch mine.  Let’s face it, if giving referrals becomes a one-way street, eventually the traffic will thin.

So, with all this in mind, to drive business relationships to the reciprocity phase, you need to be dealing with referral partners who have the same target market as you.  Why?  Because every customer of yours is a potential customer of theirs and vice versa. That’s what makes it easy to refer business back to people whom refer it to you.

We connect over 100K business women and many continue to make some fundamental business mistakes whilst others were building amazing relationships. Take Kate & Tina in Townsville, they met at a networking event. Slowly started collaborating and cross-referring business. They established they had a mutual passion for helping business. Today they have a started a business together Empowered Elevation and have taken on the running of the Business in Heels Branch.

In order to help you fast track this process to relationships that deliver word of mouth referrals the team at Business in Heels have pooled their combined knowledge and developed the Business Building program.  It’s a balance of education, marketing and networking where you can learn, practice and evaluate over a 12 month period. Every month you get a new lesson covering everything from target markets, creating time, building confidence to testimonials. Then you have the opportunity to educate others on what you really do, who you help through case study’s and testimonials. Expose your business to your local community of 1000 business women. Then we get you connecting both at our events and out at coffee date days. Creating an immersive experience that is guaranteed to yield results. LEARN MORE

Social media has been a game changer for small business giving us free access to the world at your finger tips.

It works well to give your business exposure and to start the relationship building process, as long as you don’t break the golden rule and become “salesy”.  We run over 50 Facebook groups and we know what works. To ensure you make the impact you want check out some of this short video and join one of groups to practice today ( Business in Heels – “Branch Name= Location “)! How to Introduce Yourself on Social Media with Impact 

About Lisa Sweeney

Lisa Sweeney is an inspired networking professional building a business, Business in Heels, to support entrepreneurial women world-wide with resources opportunity and choice. I negotiate win-win deals for businesses looking to further their reach through our face to face events and social networks. We aim to help woman in business be successful on a global stage with equality.

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