Relationships are the key to successful digital strategy. Your relationship with customers, media influencers, and industry experts are the difference between building a successful digital venture and giving up. Relationship building doesn’t have to be hard, but it does need a lot of work. Especially if you are trying to create lots of relationships to help increase your influence and community. So what makes it seem so difficult?

Internet gurus and experts have made building relationships more complicated than ever. Adding complex layers of digital tools and platforms now makes a natural human desire overwhelming and expensive. Hopefully, my simple networking tip will change the way you build relationships with others.

What Internet “Gurus” Tell Us

We are constantly told when it comes to business and relationships the only way to win is by someone else losing. Even if we can’t remember hearing this we definitely act on this premise. The thought can even be found in our most basic relationships.

For example:

  • I can’t “win” the argument with my wife unless she loses the argument
  • I can’t get more sales unless my competitors get fewer sales
  • I can’t “win” until everyone else around me loses
  • I can’t have a strong relationship with my customer unless they don’t have a relationship with someone else

This idea is false.

When you see the world in terms of winning and losing the only person losing is you. Networking only to get something from someone else at the cost of another wont help you “win”. You won’t succeed and in most cases you will be miserable doing what you used to love. The same goes with your personal life. Mixing winning and losing into your mentality is the fastest way to turn people off and lose relationships.

What Does Work in Relationship Building?

The only strategy I have seen that works is the concept of Mutuality. When building relationships through mutuality it is the idea that for me to win… you must win first.

Doing this requires a selfless attitude where helping other people succeed becomes 1st priority. You see this with some of the most popular bloggers. They made it their #1 priority to help their readers succeed. Then when they made efforts to produce a product or new service people energetically helped them succeed too. When we network it is the same.

Networking is all about building solid relationships with people interested in what we do. Often these people will also have influence. Imagine meeting someone for the first time and instead of asking them to do something for you, solve their needs. Then before asking them to do something for you… you again help them pursue their interests.

When you help others find answers to their questions, solve their needs, and respond to their interests you build a relationship of trust. Over time your relationships will become stronger and your new “friends” will also become fans.

Start building relationships based on Mutuality and you are sure to win.


Update: Here’s a great explanation of how it feels to be “handled” in an unauthentic relationship by the popular Chris Brogan – How Not to Reconnect Video


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