Business relationships: How can I help you?

- July 20, 2008 < 1 MIN READ

In our business relationships we often tend to focus more on ‘what can you do for me?’ rather ‘what can I do for you?’, but is this the best way to create meaningful business relationships?

When I first met Zern Liew, now one of our fine contributors, I said something that stuck with him. The fact that it did and that he went on to blog about it means that it’s stuck with me also.

Oh, that I was profound! Oh, that my words were planned and intentional! Alas, it was a simple statement said with zero preparatory thought.

After an initial exchange of pleasantries, all I said was ”How can what I do be of assistance to you?”

Simple words, indeed and a genuine enquiry as at the time I had no idea what we hoped to accomplish together.

Don’t worry, I prepare for meetings a little better these days.

Anyway the point is that since this meeting I have come to better grasp the benefit of asking an open-ended, or ‘open possibilities’, question.

If, in our business dealings we concentrate much more on ‘what can I do for you?’ rather than the more typical ‘what can you do for me?’ position, we can get rapidly to a place of meaning and purpose in our business relationships.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business relationships section.

Far too often at networking events, I witness business owners thrusting business cards and flyers into people’s hands while following the misguided belief that this is ‘effective promotion’.

To my mind it’s about as effective as those after-hours telemarketing calls – you may well convert one in a hundred, but you risk off-siding the other ninety-nine.

So in the spirit of this theme – and at the risk of attracting over 14,000 requests: How can Flying Solo help YOU? Tell us and we’ll do our best.