All businesses can benefit from building quality relationships with vendors, consumers and employees. The stronger these relationships are, the more successful your business will become. Keep reading for some of the best ways to strengthen relationships with your most important connections.
1. Be Honest
Business relationships aren’t formed between companies, they’re formed between people, and relationships require honesty to build trust. If you don’t know the answer to a question, don’t hedge or make something up. Be honest. Say you don’t know, but you’ll find out. Then follow through!
2. Communicate Regularly
Regular communication is a key ingredient in fostering strong relationships. You can reach your business connections using social media like LinkedIn and Facebook, or more traditional methods like direct mail. Make sure you reach out even when you don’t need something, and don’t limit communication to the holidays or when you want them to buy from you.
3. Encourage Feedback
Feedback from your consumers, vendors and colleagues will help you improve your future performance. Encourage your business connections to provide constructive criticism and offer advice. Show your respect for their opinions by listening to feedback and making changes as needed.
4. Listen More, Talk Less
Good communication goes both ways. Make sure that you listen to what your connections have to say about their own business endeavors. Doing so demonstrates that you aren’t just interested in promoting your own agenda, but that you also want to help your connections build their businesses and accomplish their goals.
5. Make Relationships Personal
Template letters and other generic forms of communication can do more harm than good. Keep your relationships rich and personal by sending warm, customized communications to your professional connections. For example, think about how good it would feel to get a real birthday card in the mail and what an impact that could have on your business relationship.
6. Keep Records
When you know personal details about each of your professional connections, such as their hobbies and interests, you can use these details to send personalized communications to each of your connections. For example, if you know that a connection has a wife and kids, you can address personal communications to the entire family.
7. Be a Proactive Communicator
Don’t fall into the trap of reaching out to your professional connections on holidays only. Instead, make use of your knowledge and experiences with professional connections. Send them useful links or friendly greeting cards on a more frequent basis to maintain the relationship. For example, consider sending thank you notes to your connections each quarter.
In business, solid bonds between companies are about more than just the bottom line. Take the time to learn about your business connections so you can communicate with them on a personal level and develop stronger, more productive relationships.