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Creating Goodwill in the Business Community - A Step beyond Networking

Anyone active in the business world knows just how important networking is. It is the basis for developing business relationships with others in your field and can lead to the sharing of leads with those you meet along the way. Yet networking can be so much more and if utilised effectively, can create goodwill in the business community.

Why Is Goodwill So Important?

Unfortunately, we often view other business men and women in our field or related fields as being ‘the competition.’ Why is it so important to establish goodwill with competitors? Although there are a number of reasons it is important not to make competitors ‘the enemy,’ the single most important factor is word-of-mouth which is a double-edged sword. Just as easily as someone can say wonderful things about you, so too can they list off all the negatives about you and/or your business.

Just think about this for a moment. That competitor may pitch a potential client before you do. If you have built a solid relationship with that competitor, chances are he/she will target others in the field to exemplify bad business practices or products. It is true that some people aren’t built with the same moral code as you are, but generally speaking, goodwill tends to prevail.

Simple Ways to Develop Goodwill

How many conventions and workshops have you been to where everyone is running around passing out business cards and generally making a feeble attempt at networking? Those men and women could care less about you or what you have to offer. Their only interests are self-seeking and they believe that simply getting their name out there is ‘branding.’ Here you have it! Branding is indeed important but only if it sheds a favourable light on that which is associated with the brand.

A better way to brand your business is to show genuine concern for the person you are meeting. Make eye contact, firmly shake their hand and by all means, listen to what they are saying. Listen to some of the responses you get when talking to people. You can tell they are only half listening, if at all. Showing genuine respect for the person you are meeting is the very first step in building goodwill. And by all means, don’t forget to offer a genuine smile. According to smilemotivation.co.uk, nothing motivates quite like a genuine smile.

Goodwill Leads to Mutual Trust

There may be times when a competitor’s workload is just too heavy. In these times, if you have a relationship built on mutual trust, it just might be possible that some of the work may be passed on to you. This works in the reverse as well. If you feel goodwill emanating from someone you’ve always thought of as competition, why not pass on work to them as well?

It is far better to keep the customer happy than it is to continue vain rivalry. This speaks volumes to customers who will respect your efforts to satisfy their needs. They may or may not come back to you but they will remember you as having fair and ethical business standards. They will remember that you cared enough to send them to another business that could help them, even at a cost to you. This may prompt them to suggest your company to friends and business acquaintances in need of the services or product you provide.

Fostering goodwill amongst those you consider to be the competition goes a long way in building working relationships. No, you don’t have to give up all your trade secrets but you can make friends where others make enemies. A little goodwill goes a long way in the business world.