Establishing business relationships is necessary for the long-term success of your business. But after you’ve made these connections, they are useless without nourishment. Most businesses don’t find it difficult to form an initial connection, but the next step is where businesses often can struggle to maintain these new business relationships. Whether you’re looking at client relations, partners or stake holders, there are some basic foundations you can lay that will work towards a healthy dynamic with your desired connections that have a long shelf life.
The most obvious aspect of maintaining a strong relationship is communication. You need to get into a habit of making regular contact. Prompt and productive communication is a very attractive trait for your company to foster and build a reputation on. It can be as small as interacting and keeping in touch with customers via social media or as big as planning events and dinners with partners and investors. Communication will help you get to know your clients’ needs; it will also help to build trust between you as you can work to meet their needs through continual contact and discussion.
Listen and act
Famed philosopher Epictetus gave us the much-overused quote “we have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Although it is a cliché, it’s as true today as it was when he first opined this line of thinking. Listening with intent – intent to act, to learn, and to communicate – can be difficult at times. It can be easy to fall into the trap of listening only to wait to say your piece. But if you consciously listen and open your mind to suggestions and problems, your business relationships will prosper. Genuine listening, and then acting on what you hear, will earn you appreciation and loyalty as well as the material gains from an exchange.
Always keep your word
It only takes a second to make a promise to someone, but do you have the time and resources to follow through? If you want your business relationships to be positive and fruitful, you need to make sure that you always fulfil your promises. If you don’t, your relationships will suffer as people lose trust in you. Honesty and transparency are much sought after when it comes to forming bonds with businesses, so you will become a much more attractive connection if you can nurture these traits through your existing relationships.
These methods are simple but effective and can bring the biggest changes to your relationships. The most important theme is openness – regular contact, listening, and keeping promises all work together to paint a picture of an honest, caring business. You can use this reputation to forge more connections and strengthen your existing relationships even more. Building and nurturing business relationships is an on-going effort that will reward you with loyalty and success.