Business is built on relationships, plain and simple. Relationships directly affect a business’ bottom line, market access, and scalability. Establishing centers of influence and knowing how to harness them will help expand a business exponentially. Without them, a professional is likely to experience an abundance of missed opportunities.
The expression “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” stands true through the test of time. Key relationships with related industry professionals are crucial for expanding a network. In general, professionals are magnetic and want to enjoy the company of people that they do business with. Having the right professional network inevitably opens the doors to new opportunities. This Beauty Blueprint provides eight enlightening tips for forming these valuable relationships.
Do your homework. Identify people you want to connect with that can benefit your career path. Don’t depend on fate to put the right people in your path. Spend your energy engaging with individuals that make sense in your network and are relevant to your goals. Identify the business alignment with key people in the professional community and define what success looks like for both parties.
SHOW UP – BOTH ONLINE AND OFFLINE
Be on time, be engaging, and make the effort. Whether connecting with others through e-mail, social media, at events, or scheduled in-person meetings, make your presence noticeable. Make it count and put in the time. Be present. Hang out at the same places other like-minded people hang out. If you aren’t able to physically attend a conference, then lean on digital networking opportunities. Join chat rooms and reach out to new people. Make a habit of connecting with everyone around you to grow your network.
Meeting new people in a forced environment can be awkward. Just take a deep breath and be yourself. When appropriate, properly introduce yourself and the business, explain what you are all about, but do not be salesy and self-promotional to a fault. Have your elevator speech ready, but come across as genuine and effortless. Do not approach others too aggressively since most people do not respond well to that.
TALK LESS, LISTEN MORE
You learn a lot when you listen to what others have to say, so do your best not to dominate conversations. You can unveil common interests and discover peoples’ underlying motivations. Most importantly, active listening allows you to uncover what challenges they face. You may have the solution for their pain points.
Speak up and ask questions. People love to talk about themselves, so prompt open-ended questions. Dig deeper in the conversation without focusing on yourself. Use this as an opportunity to confirm your listening skills and ask questions relative to their interests.
If there is something specific you want, ask for it. Be direct. If you want to shoot with a certain photographer, reach out and ask them. You want someone to make an introduction? Ask for it. Do you want to bounce joint venture ideas off an affiliate brand? Ask for the meeting. Have certainty in your talents and know what sets you apart from competition. Be confident in the unique traits that only you can bring to the relationship.
Handing out business cards is not enough these days. It can be as simple as a quick e-mail or text saying it was great to meet someone. It is best to make it memorable and tie in pieces of the conversation. If you promised to deliver something, follow through on your word. Avoid the uncomfortable phase of wanting to connect with someone without having a reason to do so.
Do not forget about the people already in your network. It is pivotal that you regularly strengthen the relationships you have and think long-term. Be flexible to sustaining the relationship and commit to actively contributing to making it grow. The best relationships turn into brand advocates, referring business and making introductions without added benefit to themselves.
Forming partnerships is no easy business. Not every attempt will work out. It is one thing to get your foot in the door, but it is entirely different establishing a mutually beneficial, long-term relationship. Those long-term relationships make the most valuable introductions, create the most spontaneous deals, and become the most loyal centers of influence.
Amanda Azar, LME is a published makeup artist, medical aesthetician, and body wrapper based in south Florida. She is the founder and executive artist of Azar Beauty, makeup artistry instructor at Cortiva Institute, and lead artist for NewsmaxTV, Pelican Grand’s Pure Spa, and St. Andrews Country Club. Azar has a degree in business management from Florida Atlantic University and diplomas in fashion makeup from Cosmix School of Makeup Artistry and paramedical aesthetics from Southeastern College and is dual-licensed and holds over 40 certifications. Azar is a member of the National Association of Professional Businesswomen, National Aesthetic Spa Network, Look Good Feel Better, and a RAW Artist alumni.