Building professional networks can be a challenge, but maintaining them can be ever harder. A business leader needs to have refined communication skills and networking opportunities. However, are they enough? Simply making business connections is not enough. You need to maintain them for long time, as a requirement for success. Business practitioners say that the best way on how to maintain professional relationship is by identifying factors that hold you back.
How to Maintain Professional Relationship for Long Time
In a post on Forbes, Vicky Valet notes that to be successful in maintaining a relationship, you need to identify the problems first. In general, there are three factors that make maintaining a long-term relationship even harder. Here are some of them:
Finding the Right Time
Finding the time to build and maintain a relationship can be a challenge. Should you do them in lunch meetings or after-work drinks? Before you raise the white flags, take some time to remember how many relationships you have built. Experts say that quality is more important than quantity. You do not need many relationships. Few quality relationships are more valuable.
Many relationships across different areas do not necessarily mean that you have to be on social media all the time. Instead, you may need a relationship action plan, where you identify the problems and align goals to solve them. Decide few priorities depending upon your needs and put them in a list. Then, you can decide strategies to build them.
For instance, you may allocate some of your holiday times to meet your connections. You can invite them for lunch, dinners, or simply coffee drinking. Then, make sure to get connected with them on social media. Sometimes, liking their posts on social media can mean much. In other words, finding the right time to maintain your relationships determines the strategies determine how your approach them.
Finding the Reason
Once you have found the time to sustain the existing, the next challenge is finding a reason. What are your reasons to meet them? The difficulties in finding the reason depends upon how long your relationships have been, how long it has been since your last contact, and who the contacts are.
Finding a reason to meet someone is even harder if you feel you don’t have one. It sounds ridiculous when you give a gift to someone you had met once before, right? Perhaps, you can start by asking questions related to his hobbies, travel plans, or projects he/she is working on. Then, keep the connections by giving them small gifts in the next meeting. If the first meeting might happen unintentionally, then you can intentionally invite them for the next connections.
Of course, confidence is important in how to maintain professional relationship. Several annoying questions may come into your mind. They may hold you back. For instance, “what if the competitors are also approaching your connections?” “What if your boss does not provide enough support?”, and many more.
So, you can begin by identifying their needs. You can ask your connections about their projects. Listen and analyze their response carefully to identify what their needs to keep the business going. Identify parts of the needs, which you can fill. In the end, successful connections will result if you can build them like a kind of friendship.