Building Personal Relationships in Business

Building rapport is crucial in any business situation. It is especially important to get the chemistry right.  To do so you must understand the underlying differences in people. Of course people fall in-between and are a mixture of various behaviours in different contexts, so this is just seen as a general guideline.

In building the relationship and understanding the personality of the person you need to be like the African elephant with big ears and listen to the client’s motivations in order to tailor the solution to them. For the business-minded person this should be almost natural, and many parts of the world already have an informal relationship-based culture where they have an advantage to direct cultures where business comes first and relationships second. in an increasingly globalised world, the importance of personal relationship cannot be any less emphasised, despite technology and virtual meetings which are handy tools, the personal relationship becomes ever more important for long-term business sustainability.

Hence, you spot the motivation by looking at ways in how people express themselves; by their opinions, attitude, time, dress, environment. Determine what is important to them and tailor your behaviour towards that.

There are mainly three stereotypes. Some people desire influence, seeks status and are to certain extent controlling, where the concept of time is to their pace and meetings should be set according to their agenda. These have ‘power’ as a motivation. While other people seek achievement in everything they do – the ‘achievers’. Their time perception is fast, and you often have to cut to the chase. Also, the ‘affiliators’, that want to hear everyone’s opinion before making a decision. Hence, their reach is larger and they want broad involvement from the group of people around them. They put a high value in relations and try to see how ‘we’ can benefit. Their time perception is often slower than the achievers.

For example, when dealing with power-seeking individuals, you let them decide time and place and the meeting should largely be set be according to their terms. You need to understand this type rarely want to involve other people and in situations they try to determine what is in it for them. In the end, you want a win-win relationship, where both parties benefit.