Business relationships are made not born. When done with intention, they can be a tremendous resource for you. If you’re a Rainmakers member, then you cultivated a few strategic partners along the way. At first, like any new relationship, there’s a honeymoon stage where everything is new, exciting…easy. However, in time the relationship, while still beneficial to both of you, can feel forced and awkward. How do you keep the dialogue fresh?

First, get clear on who your strategic partners are. These are people who can introduce you to your potential clients. Building a connection with professionals who can compliment your business offerings is mutually beneficial to you, your strategic partners and, ultimately, your clients.

Strategic partnerships are meant to be cultivated for the long term. Subtle over pitching of your products or services isn’t going to cut it here. Remember, they already know who you are. There are better ways to stay remembered and deepen the relationship at the same time.

A useful method to encourage conversation is to host a roundtable discussion. Roundtables are excellent venues for giving and receiving targeted feedback as well as engaging in in-depth discussions. They focus on a shared topic of interest, such as leadership or sales strategy. A roundtable can be a one-time event or it can be a series. 

Here are a few key tips to hosting a successful roundtable. First, invite strategic partners who you think can benefit from one another. It is important to choose quality over quantity. Be selective with who you invite and be clear about the topic, so that those with a genuine interest contribute to the conversation. Next, have a clear focus and agenda for the discussion, moderate or designate a moderator who is knowledgeable about the topic and lead the discussion. Lastly, be sure to thank those who attend in a follow-up email. 

An ongoing business relationship may take more effort to sustain, but it will be well worth the time spent cultivating it. Identifying what your needs (e.g., growing your business, gaining visibility, building a team) and the needs of your strategic partner (e.g., experience, trusted resources, business connections) combined with an an ongoing dialogue keeps relationships lively and productive.

Roundtables create dialogue so you can learn about each other and deepen ties – naturally. Keep communicating, keep top-of-mind, and your strategic relationships will flourish. Do you need a plan for getting in front of people you need to meet? Try this.