How do you build genuine business relationships? The kind of relationship that will eventually lead to long-term friendships, personal growth, and even hyper sales growth for your company? Being really, really good at what you do for your business is a start, but, it's more about who you are.
"Our research shows that the number-one predictive element of an individual's success is the number, the quality, and the depth of social capital--the personal relationships among those that they do business with," said Keith Ferrazzi.
Ferazze is CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, author of Never Eat Alone and Who's Got Your Back?
"Skills can easily be learned. There are tips, tactics, tools, that sort of thing that help somebody be more effective. It's everything from more effectively knowing how to use LinkedIn, to knowing how to walk in a room and connect fairly instantly with somebody," Ferrazzi added.
"The process is really something that we don't apply as readily as we should to relationship management. It's odd that we have budgets, financial plans, task lists, etcetera, but where do you see a relationship action plan? Where do you see a people list? It almost inevitably isn't managed."
Mindsets, on the other hand are more complex. "One of the mindsets is that you have to be able to do this in a very authentic way. You're not faking anything. The intent is really to build a true personal relationship."
It's true in all facets of the business world. Take hiring employees, for example. "The first thing to look for when searching for a great employee is somebody with a personality that fits with your company culture.
"Most skills can be learned, but it is difficult to train people on their personality. If you can find people who are fun, friendly, caring and love helping others, you are on to a winner," Richard Branson wrote in a LinkedIn article.
Digital education company Hyper Island surveyed over 5,000 business leaders for a report. The report was entitled "Tomorrow's Most Wanted." It found that 78% of those surveyed cited "personality" as the most desirable quality in employees. This was followed in importance by "cultural alignment," and then finally "skill-set."
The survey also found that for specific personality traits, 14% of respondents listed drive as most important, followed by creativity (12% of respondents), and "open mind" (11%).
Still not convinced? Here's a closer look at why personalities are important, what traits people look for, and how you can improve your personality.
Why Great Relations Are About Personalities, Not Just Skills
Your personality is what makes you interesting and unique. Think about it. You could be a the most-talented coder in the world, but if you can't hold a conversation then why would clients want to be around you?
I understand that business relationships are obviously about business, but it's also a rapport that can be strengthened outside of work. So, if you're into hiking, wouldn't you want to work with that coder who's also an outdoor enthusiast?
Also think about the people who you surround yourself with. I doubt that you spend too much time with the friend who constantly flakes out. What about the one who sucks your energy, is always moping around, complaining, or asking for a hand-out?
You probably spend time with people who are reliable, upbeat, and actually brings something to the relationship. If that's who you surround yourself with in your personal life, don't you think the same is true in your professional life?
Finally, your personality isn't going to fade away. Your good looks and certain set of skills may. But, you can always learn a new trait. Your personality, however, is going to be with you throughout the entire course of the relationship.
Personality Traits That Build Solid Business Relationships
You're personality is more important than skills when it comes to strong business relationships.
But, what exact personality traits are people most attracted to?
1. Honest, trustworthy, and reliable. "These are three cornerstones of a good character," says Lynn Taylor. Taylor is a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job."
"You can tell a hiring manager that you are these things, but your demeanor and the conversation will be far more credible. They are critical because trust is at the core of any sustainable relationship."
2. Empathy. "Successful business leaders have mastered an intangible, often overlooked factor that allows them to focus on the future with clarity: empathy." This is according to Jayson M. Boyers, as reported to Forbes. "While that may surprise many, I am certain that the ability to connect with and relate to others--empathy in its purest form--is the force that moves businesses forward."
3. Professionalism, high-energy, and confidence. First impressions are everything. People can determine whether they want to work with you within 30 seconds. This is based on your appearance, handshake, and body language. These non-verbal cues can display if you're a confident, energetic professional or not.
4. Positive attitude and sense of humor. People who project a positive attitude tend to be more healthy mentally and physically healthy, socially attractive, and successful.
Meanwhile, a person with a sense of humor can also lighten the mood.
5. Self-motivated, helpful, and passionate. Going above and beyond without being told to because the person genuinely cares about the relationship or the products/services that they represent.
6. Intellectual curiosity. This shows the other party that you have solid problem solving skills and want continually learn new strategies, skills, and technologies.
7. Flexibility. "If you can demonstrate that you can switch gears with poise, as circumstances require, that will advance your cause," says Taylor.
Other attractive traits are being able to:
How to Improve Your Personality
For the longest time it was believed that your personality was set in stone. Fortunately, that's not the case and you have the power to improve your personality by:
What's more important to you when building a business relationship; the person's personality or skill set?