Post by Mary Beth Cutshall, Vice President of Acquisitions & Business Development, Hospitality Ventures Management Group
Take a look at accomplished professionals you respect and admire and I guarantee they have a strong ability to connect with others. Successful business people understand that one of the fundamental aspects of their success is the ability to effectively build and maintain relationships. This is especially true in the ‘people business’ we call the hospitality industry, where an individual’s or even organization’s ability to establish meaningful connections with people often can spell the difference between success and failure.
Relationships are about building mutually beneficial connections with others that last. In our business, relationships can be multifaceted to include guests, associates, colleagues and investors.
But, what are the core aspects of building successful relationships? And what contributes to a strong long-term connection?
Here are the three keys to building relationships that will stand the test of time that I have learned during my hospitality industry career, including my current role as HVMG’s VP of Acquisitions & Business Development.
Be Open. “Relationship people” truly like people. We network; we’re curious about people and want to get to know them, discover what makes them tick, identify their passions and goals. Taking the time to get to know another person should be seen as a valuable and worthwhile investment, not as a chore or afterthought. It must be a genuine and sincere intention. Anything less is inherently sensed by the other person and makes the next step more difficult.
Be Credible. Once a relationship has been established, maintaining and building that relationship is paramount. The core values between two people are always trust and respect for one another. Do you follow through on what you say you will do? Do people know you to be real, honest and reliable? Do you treat people as you’d like to be treated? It’s called the “Golden Rule” for a reason. By following it, you will find many treasures along the way. Over time, a bond is developed and trust and commitment follow. Once credibility is established and maintained, the next question you should ask is “What can I do to help the other person” which leads to the next step.
Be Beneficial. Productive relationships are a two-way street with each person giving hopefully more than taking. A one-sided relationship indicates a lack of respect and is doomed from the beginning. It eventually deteriorates trust and is far from mutually beneficial. When we give back to others, we show them that we care and our interests are aligned with theirs. Take the time and initiative to help someone else. Watch how it enriches your relationship with that person and eventually adds value to your own business. Some of the most successful business people I know make “other people’s business, their business.” Mutually rewarding business relationships are self-perpetuating and eventually, everyone wins, and isn’t that what it’s all about?
Once you begin making this three-step process to building relationships part of your daily activities, you’ll be amazed at how other people respond to you. The beauty of it is that all it takes is the right attitude and a little effort. When it comes to relationship building, it truly is a case of you get what you put into it.