How to build contacts & avoid being irritating

We’ve all been there: as business owners we try to build up a good rapport with our business contacts, suppliers yet no matter what we do, we find our calls are not returned and our emails are ignored.

I hate to say it, but it’s often our own fault – so how can we ensure we’re making the best impression?

These are a few common mistakes people make which can easily be avoided:


2. Treating people according to rank – Looking down on others is never going to win you friends. Smile at the receptionist; be polite to the sales rep. Not only does this reflect well on you, it also avoids potential embarrassment when the person you mistook for a sales rep turns out to be the business owner.

3. Me, me, me – Of course constantly talking about yourself is a bad idea, but even using subtle techniques (eg asking questions just so you can leap in with the ‘right’ answer) can be easily spotted.

4. Bragging – Again, we all know not to brag, but what has slipped into common language recently is the ‘humblebrag’ ie you try to cover your bragging by saying something humble as well: “I’m so terrible at managing my money, I just don’t know what to do with my millions.”

5. Demands – Don’t expect people to go out of their way to help you. Why should others work for you for free? Dressing up a request for free help as an ‘opportunity’ for another professional is insulting. However, if you are generous with your time and advice, you may find others reciprocate.

Above all, the key is to show restraint to begin with. Don’t overwhelm people with your strong opinions, hilarious jokes or unforgettable personality. Allow them to get to know you slowly and you’ll find a strong relationship of trust and mutual respect soon develops.

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