5 Tips For Building Strategic Relationships

We all know relationships are important. The relationships you build today may be the relationships that get you the next leadership position in a new organization, move you up in your current organization, or help you with a pressing problem you’ve been dealing with.

Relationships are also a struggle. I’ve struggled long and hard over relationships that feel way too transactional and not enough relational. The relationship always seems to turn toward business talk and what we’re doing to grow our businesses.

4 people sitting around a wooden table working on laptops

Photo by Annie Spratt

It makes me tired and sad. It feels like it is not a real relationship. But it is. It’s a different kind of relationship. These relationships are strategic relationships.

A strategic relationship is one that:

  • Benefits both parties
  • Helps you grow your business or yourself
  • Encourages you to do better
  • Keeps you focused on your goals

Strategic relationships aren’t bad. They’re just not quite as relational or personal as some people would like. Including myself.

I’ve found myself looking for more strategic relationships. They’re coming along and I’ve found 5 tips to help you build strategic relationships.

5 Tips For Building Strategic Relationships

1. Know what you have to offer:

Strategic relationships are all about helping each other succeed. To do this, you need to know what you have to offer.

Can you connect your strategic relationship partner with someone that could help them move their business to the next level? Could you share a valuable article or resource with them? Maybe you have a coaching business or business consulting firm that could help them. Also, when it comes to mutual collaborations, it should be easy for your colleagues and a co-author to join a collaborative document. For example, if you use contract collaboration software you can invite colleagues and co-authors to view and edit a document at the same time.

Figure out what they need and what you have to offer.

2. Figure out the personality of the person you’re building a strategic relationship with:

Different personality types respond differently to different rewards. Some strategic relationships require you to build a more personal side of the relationship. Others love to see results.

Figure out what motivates the people you’re building relationships with. Continue to provide them with the rewards that resonate with them.

Continue to do this and you will build a strategic relationship where the other person feels valued.

3. Be ready to ask questions or provide ideas:

Relationships are a two-way street. You will benefit from the relationship. You also have to make sure the other party will benefit from the strategic relationship.

How do you do this? You can do two things.

The first is to ask questions. This can be to dig deeper into an idea or plan the other person provides. It shows that you are listening and aware of what they’re sharing. Asking questions can also help them clarify their thoughts and ideas. Dig deep into their thoughts with questions. You will be surprised at how much they will appreciate it.

The second is to provide ideas. You have both talked about your business struggles. Now, you can share your business ideas with the other party. Give them your thoughts and ideas on what they can do to grow personally or professionally.

4. Send a piece of snail mail:

I have to say, snail mail is still cool. People love getting a piece of physical mail over getting an email in their online mailbox.

Why? Because physical is still king.

Receiving a physical letter tells the recipient that someone took the time to handwrite a letter, stick it in an envelope, and place it in a mailbox.

Don’t doubt the power of a real, physical letter. They may even be shocked and awed by it.

5. Be willing to end a strategic relationship:

Some relationships are meant to be forever, like a marriage. Other relationships can have an end, like a strategic business relationship.

At some point, it may be time to move on from the strategic business relationship you’ve built with someone. Be ready and willing to end the relationship on a positive note.

You may mourn the loss of the relationship but it is something that happens in life. Being prepared and willing to end it will show respect for the other person in the relationship.

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