There is an important ingredient you can use in building lasting relationships. Many people talk about building relationships in business, but they often focus more on a transactional nature. This is short-sighted and doesn’t bring about the best results.
We have to plan for what is coming long before it arrives. This time-honored Aesop Fable about the Wild Boar and the Fox illustrates the point:
The Wild Boar and the Fox
A WILD BOAR was sharpening his tusks busily against the stump of a tree, when a Fox happened by. Now the Fox was always looking for a chance to make fun of his neighbors. So he made a great show of looking anxiously about, as if in fear of some hidden enemy. But the Boar kept right on with his work.
“Why are you doing that?” asked the Fox at last with a grin. “There isn’t any danger that I can see. “True enough,” replied the Boar, “but when danger does come there will not be time for such work as this. My weapons will have to be ready for use then, or I shall suffer for it.”
Preparedness for war is the best guarantee of peace.
As the wild boar prepared for potential dangers in the future, the wise relationship marketer plans of the future. Smart relationship marketers are sowing seeds for a future harvest. In relationships this means that you are implementing a part of the farming cycle every week.
It is important to make initial contacts. It is important to renew important friendships that you haven’t refreshed for a while. You also want to be able to know when it is time to harvest.
In business this means that you’re constantly connecting with people providing value for them. This is sowing the seeds. We do this today by providing value on social media in the form of relevant YouTube videos, problem-solving articles in LinkedIn, Medium, your blog post, and other venues. This is where you use text, video, and audio. Remember it must always be relevant and valuable to your audience.
There is also a time when you need to prepare for harvest. In business, this means that you are making offers that are compelling to your target market. In farming, there is a time when you have to pick the crops that have grown. Crops that are not ripe or will never come to harvest, must be discarded. This is where judgment comes into play.
This is business. Know that you must make a sale in order to stay in business. It doesn’t mean that you’re pushy. It means you’re determined to continue to provide value and relevance to others so that they want to do business with you.
It all goes back to the preparation that our friend from Aesop’s fables, the wild boar, practiced. Know that the wild boar did this in spite of criticism and cynicism from the fox. There are those who will deride your preparation for future harvests. Let them deride. Let them be cynical. You will be the one who will succeed at harvest time because of the relationships that you have cultivated.
The secret to win long-term in building relationships in business is the right preparation. An old Arab saying says, “Dig your well before you are thirsty.” Don’t be part of the crowd that is crying when hard times come, as they inevitably will. Prepare for winter during summer. Prepare for hard times during times of plenty.
Lay out your strategy for immediate, intermediate, and long term relationship-building tactics and strategies. Focus on the needs of others and be a resource, and value-provider for them. No one owes you anything. You need to create value for them so it is in their best interest to deal with you.
As you implement these steps you will find success in business. Not only that, perhaps that wild boar from Aesop’s fables will also be smiling upon you! 🙂
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