I’m sure you all get tips on relationships all the time, from platonic relationships to not-so-platonic relationships. But did you ever consider taking the advice and applying it to your business relationships as well?

An article on cnn.com talks about 5 ways to win people over. These tips are universal for business and personal relationships so I thought I would share them and my thoughts on them.

1. Puncture your own ego. This tip basically advises people to be aware of the way you treat other people in terms of modesty and knowing what skills and talents you possess. In other words, don’t walk round acting like you know it all and cannot be wrong. When working with suppliers it is important to know that in most cases they may have more expertise in the industry than you, after all they do this for a living. Always be open to learning new things but do not seem too naïve, it may make you appear more inexperienced than you are and lead to a loss in leverage.

2. Don't be needy. Just like it states in the article, “If I get the feeling that a person desperately wants something from me (not including one of my kids), I am more reluctant to give it up”, people will be less willing to listen or help you if you appear desperate. Obviously you can see how this would apply in your personal relationships but as far as business is concerned keep in mind that business relationships can more often than not be mutual beneficial. Suppliers want your business as much as you want their products and services.

3. Tell someone (nicely) what she/ he have to lose. Focus on the opportunities as well as the loss in opportunities when approaching a business proposition. If you go with option A you gain this but what do you lose from option B? Always factor in all sides of the equation instead of gearing towards the positive.

4. Throw a curveball in conversation. This can be taken several different ways. When you find that you are especially challenged in a business situation, or a personal one for that matter, instead of hitting the wall head on over and over, find a way around that wall (or at least that’s what I heard once from someone). There is almost always another approach to a difficult situation. Brainstorming with other team members also can be helpful. I personally find this to be one of the best ways out of a problem. Other people can see things from a different and sometimes clearer perspective.

5. Reiterate the other person's argument. By repeating what the other person has said you have acknowledged them and made them feel heard. This is important in business because when dealing with suppliers it can be easy to get lost in the process of things. Keep in mind that you are dealing with human beings and your approach should remain somewhat human while still pursuing your goals.
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Jennifer Ulrich

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  1. Although I am retired- I still am required to use these 5 approaches in day to day encounters w/ sales people, local politicians etc. (and by the way they work in personal relationships as well). Somethings just never end - like good communication skills.