Who are the most important people in your life? Are they strangers, people you know nothing about? No, the people that matter the most to you are those that you have developed strong relationships with.

Because of the way you feel for them, these people have a very strong influence over your actions.

Becoming an important industry influence requires building quality relationships, just like you do in your personal life. This can mean hard work in some cases. Think about your most important and valuable relationships. They probably require a little work from time to time. They are not effortlessly maintained.

Take the necessary time to build deeper relationships with other industry influencers in your market or niche. If you connect on a very real level with someone who is seen as a market leader, by proxy you are also viewed as an important force in that marketplace. Other influencers are not the only people you should be developing rich relationships with, however.

Your customers, prospects, and anyone else in your field should be the source of your relationship-making efforts. Get out there, making yourself visible to anyone and everyone in your niche. Once you make an initial connection, do more listening than talking, and make sure you provide more “give” than “take.”

Just a handful of important relationships can help you weather any storm that comes along in your industry. These relationships are often a great source of business partnerships which can further the influence of both parties in your market.