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The art of establishing a good business relationship

A key predictor in the success of an entrepreneur is his ability to develop and leverage relationships in the early stages of setting up his business...
John Demartini
John Demartini
Dr John Demartini, a world renowned speaker and human behavioral specialist, outlined for Finweek the way of establishing and maintaining significant business relationships.

The quality of business relationships when becoming an entrepreneur are one of the key predictors as to whether or not a business is going to have the staying power to successfully establish itself.

But entrepreneurs are often too busy to network and to develop essential business relationships that evolve into mutually beneficial ones. It has been proven that strong business relationships for entrepreneurs translate into better opportunities, more wealth and a greater sense of fulfillment, which are all the predominant reasons amongst SA entrepreneurs for starting a business as indicated by the Seed Academy Startup Survey 2015.

"Every human being lives with a unique set of priorities and values that determine how they perceive the world; make decisions in the world and act in the world. The highest value(s) that they hold is what they are most committed to and what they are most inspired to fulfill. Their primary objectives are in the direction of these values. If you communicate with any individual in way in which they feel that they are fulfilling their highest values, you will receive in return receptivity; openness; compliance; assistance. They will open up to you to the degree that you are helping them fulfill their highest values," explains Demartini. He adds that business relationships can be stunted when there is a projection of one person's values onto those of another individual in way that is not helping them achieve their highest values, there will be less of the receptive responses mentioned above and furthermore they will put up rules and regulations in place to protect their interests.

The art of establishing quality and lasting business relationships, according to Demartini, is to care enough about the human being to determine and confirm what those highest values are and articulate in all settings what you need and how it aligns with theirs. "So, in negotiations," comments Demartini, "people are most resilient and adaptable when they feel you're helping them get what they want." The aim in these interactions is the non-zero sum game which enables both parties to achieve what they need, and for that to happen, both parties must be aware of what highest values the other holds in the highest regard. There are steps by which this may be achieved:
  • Greet and introduce yourself respectfully so that you are able to establish report.
  • Establish the other party's needs without proposing or projecting what you are offering.
  • Understand who it is you are dealing with and what they are dedicated to.
  • If you cannot solve the needs of the other party, find someone in your network that can.
"When I was in sales and going to business lunches, I found it more productive asking people about their lives, their dreams, their challenges, and when I found out all those needs I would then ask: That seems to be a significant set of challenges you have. You seem to have a lot on your plate to manage. What solutions have you pursued for all of those challenges and have you found your solutions to be as successful as you hoped? Do you have any interest in discussing other possible solutions that could be available? If you do, would you love to meet and discover whether I might be able to assist you in some way? If I had contacts that would be useful in solving that person's needs, whether or not it meant immediate profit for me, I still offered such contacts and invariably serving that person's needs turned into a referral to me down the line," says Demartini.

Demartini teaches his students that they need to expand the limits of both their narcissism and their altruism. He teaches that you are wise to be doing as much as you possibly can to serve people to fulfill their needs, and you want to feel that you have done a great service or 'good' deed and feel fulfilled yourself. This is the balance that is necessary between altruism and narcissism, without the altruistic drive in business, an entrepreneur does not meet anyone's needs and sales will decline and if the entrepreneur errs on the side of just doing good deeds, the bottom line suffers. The art is in balancing these two elements. Quality business relationships are all about fair exchange.

About Lisa Illingworth

A journalist and editorial specialist in content development across print, online and radio platforms with a particular passion for entrepreneurship and SMME's. Director and co-founder of a "for purpose" business that launches entrepreneurial kids.

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