4 Key Aspects For Building And Maintaining Relationships in 2019
Build it and they will come.
Possibly the most important skill for any business person is the ability to establish and manage relationships. At PaymentGenes we are encouraged to see ourselves as individual entrepreneurs within the organization, constantly building and growing our professional networks with strong relationships. This is essential to providing the level of service that we strive for. In this blog, I will share my tips on building and maintaining strong relationships in modern business.
As a recruitment consultant, one of my main goals is expanding and maintaining a network within the online payments and FinTech landscape. In a world where your digital capabilities are becoming increasingly important, I will provide you with some genuine tips that will benefit every professional that is setting up their network.
I genuinely believe that building and maintaining a network comes down to 4 key aspects:
1 – Branding
2 – Connecting
3 – Interacting
4 – Maintaining
One of my favorite dutch quotes regarding a trustworthy personal brand is: “Vertrouwen komt te voet en gaat te paard”. Directly translated this makes little sense; “Trust comes on foot but leaves by horseback”, but essentially what it means is that trust is hard to acquire and easy to lose. Before we go into how to build a trustworthy personal brand, it is important to know why you should invest time in making yourself into a brand. Your personal brand is what distinguishes you from your competitors (internally as well as externally).
To give an example: At PaymentGenes, we are all collectively contributing to the PaymentGenes brand, while still identifying as an individual entrepreneur in our own fields. The goal is to create a variety of areas of expertise, built on top of our individual target audiences. At PaymentGenes we have a variety of key focus areas, which all together make for broad recruitment and consulting capabilities within Payments and FinTech. One of the things that lie close to our heart is our ability to provide the best possible human capital through our expert knowledge of the market. This allows us to attract the best payment professionals to our individual and collective brands.
Alongside the natural positioning in the market, this also achieves a high level of trust. As recruitment consultants, we are constantly in conversation with candidates as well as clients who are not only doing business with PaymentGenes but also with us as individuals. Both reputations, therefore, need to be maintained to earn and keep trust.
Here are some tips to build a strong personal brand:
- Authenticity is extremely important and should be seen as the foundation of your personal brand. Focus on your character. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Character is like a tree and reputation is like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
- You can split authenticity into three main parts: – Skills & credentials – Your passion & interests – Core value & beliefs
- Choose a target audience. Who would you like to reach with your brand? You could think of things like: age, dreams, goals, and struggles.
- Make a value proposition via your brand: What you love to do + What you do best + What your audience wants most = The sweet spot!
Looking for a career in FinTech check out our Full Job Listing!
2 – Connecting
Now that you have established the foundation of your relationships, it is time to connect and attract people to do business with you. How can you find prospective business clients? Let’s start with the easiest and most obvious one, LinkedIn. Every well-respected business person owns an account on the platform and is therefore easy to find and to reach out to. Some good tips to find the right people are:
- Make use of boolean searches. For example, if you want to find me but don’t know my name, you could search the following: “FinTech” AND “Payments” AND “Business Development Manager” AND “BeNeLux”. Important in this search is to actually use “AND”. This ensures that only people whose profile match the entire combination of the search terms will be visible. You can also use “OR” and “NOT” for more detailed searches.
- Use keywords in your biography or job description so that people are able to find you while using boolean searches.
- Join LinkedIn groups who have the same professional interests as you do. This way you can make new connections and stay up-to-date with any developments in the market.
- Last but not least, I like to send a quick and short message with my invitation to connect explaining why I am connecting. I like to believe this helps with the acceptance rate.
If you would like a few more tips on how to get your profile up-to-date, take look at another blog I wrote about LinkedIn profile optimization.
LinkedIn is the main tool I use to build a network, but actually not my preferred one. What I personally like to do most is to visit events, fairs or meet-ups. Most of them are free or cheap to attend and it gives you the opportunity to properly introduce yourself in person. The chances of making a lasting impression increase massively in person. If you want to put this tip into action, feel free to attend our Fintech meetup on the 28th of March at our office in Amsterdam.
3 – Interacting
Now that you have a 500+ (or 50+) network with valuable connections from your industry, it is important to think of how you are going to interact with your network. You could think of what content strategy you are going to use to get the most commitment from your network and eventually attract more people. The reason you should share any content is to become visible and to be considered as an expert to those consuming your content. I believe collaboration with other experts is key in this process. What you could do, for example, is:
- Collaborate with an industry podcast which has a substantial amount of committed followers within a similar field of interest
- Apply to do public speaking at your favorite meet-up. I can tell from experience this is very much appreciated at companies
- Write a guest blog for a specific industry page who is known for its expertise.
- Interact online with relevant content in your niche market.
- Attend industry events.
- Share interesting, appealing and shareable content from “influencers” or companies within your industry.
4 – Maintaining
Interacting with your network is already part of maintaining a relationship. This segment will show in more detail how to maintain those relationships. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, “vertrouwen komt te voet en gaat te paard”. If you are focussed on maintaining your network, it means you have spent countless hours developing it, right? It is therefore critical that you don’t lose the commitment of your network. The most important tips for this are:
1. Maintain your originality & authenticity
2. Focus on exceptional communication
3. Have a personal approach
4. Share knowledge (This ties in with your company’s ideas: Knowledge-based trust)
5. Be genuine and honest
And always remember: the hard part isn’t becoming the best, it is staying the best.
This blog was written by our Benelux Payment Consultant Ronald Vogel.
Have you read our blog about the most important FinTech trends in 2019?