The words “mutually beneficial” are some of the most important words you can use in business relationship building.  They unlock doors for you.  Or, at the very least, they stop them from slamming shut!   This phrase – or phrases similar to it – says a lot about you and how you approach the relationship.  Let’s talk about why the words “mutually beneficial” lead to better business relationships.

The essence of anything mutually beneficial is that both sides are getting something from it.  Doesn’t this make sense that this would turn more heads?  After all, you already know what you want to get from the conversation, but the other person needs to know the same thing for themselves before they decide if your approach is worth their time.

The essence of anything mutually beneficial is that both sides are getting something from it. #business #smallbusiness #negotiating Click To Tweet

If using language like mutually beneficial feels stilted or corporate to you, a related phrase will do the trick.  “Let’s see how we can help each other.”  “Let’s collaborate.”  “Let’s find a win-win solution.”  There are a lot of ways to express the idea.  The point is to express it.

Approaching a negotiation or a request with words that are setting you up to take, take, take will put the other person in a space of having to decide their boundaries straight away.  “Pick your brain” is one of the phrases that can have an immediately negative impact for that reason.  It’s a signal that the dynamic is going to be one sided.  Even more, it can be insulting to someone who has already established a value for the knowledge you are asking for!

Letting someone know that you are approaching them for a mutually beneficial end is really just showing that you want to cooperate.  You want to give AND take.  Knowing that there is mutual benefit on the line helps soften boundaries.  And the beauty of it is that you don’t have to both get the same exact thing.  As long as each of you gets something meaningful, it was all worthwhile.

Knowing that there is mutual benefit on the line helps soften boundaries. #business #smallbusiness #smallbiz #smb Click To Tweet

Of course, we know that in business there are times when dynamics get lopsided.  Sometimes the power or the knowledge is stacked.  We are always weighing out what conversations we want to make space for, and we decide when there is a future amid the ebbs and flows.  It’s easier to be more lenient when we see the potential for a much longer term relationship.

In times when you know that you are going to be taking more than giving, being intentional about your gratitude and sharing what you can will go a long way.  Give the other person an out.  Let them know you value what they are offering you.  And when you are the one being asked to give more, be conscious of how the ask is being made and patient if it feels like it is coming from the right place.

Bonus points to you if you can predict what the other person wants and open with it.  Nothing breaks the ice so well as when you say, “If I were in your position, I would probably want _____” or “I can appreciate that you are looking for _______.”  If you were able to correctly identify what the other person wanted, and you are leading with that, the assumption is that you really do have something to offer that will fill that need.

Building mutually beneficial business relationships can have a massive impact on your business.  The more of them you have, the more secure your business will be.  And the way we initiate the conversation can make all the difference in how the relationship grows – or whether it grows.

Next time you are getting ready to ask someone for something, remember this Tip!  How can you coach yourself into language that is going to keep the other person listening and leaning in so you can really figure out how to make it mutually beneficial?


And check out “4 Secrets for Successful Negotiating” if you want to learn tricks that will keep you moving forward in negotiations!