Building Business Relationships
10 Business Relationship Building Tips
The focus of this article is on building business relationships.
This subject is an important one; after all, if we treasure our possessions, job, reputation, or authority more than our relationships, all of these aspects of our life will suffer.
I even advocate that the quality of our lives will be determined by the quality of our relationships.
Building better business relationships is about building a better business.
In today’s competitive marketplace, the quality of your relationships is the foundation of your business. Your relationships are far more than beneficial; they are the key to your success.
All businesses need to think about client retention. A business needs to minimize client loss. According to one market research study, businesses lose customers for the following reasons:
- 1% of them die.
- 3% move.
- 5% switch their business to a friend.
- 9% are ‘stolen’ by a competitor.
- 14% switch because of product quality or price.
- 68% end their relationship because they are not appreciated and respected.
The major reason why businesses lose customers is because they feel that the business no longer cares about them. We can never argue with someone’s feelings. If a customer feels that way then it is true for them. You need to show your customers that you care about them. That you understand them and that you will do what it takes to help them to be successful.
As John C. Maxwell put it, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
People want to do business with people or organizations they know, trust, and respect.
If you run a business and customers are not complaining, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are satisfied, for research reveals that 96% of unhappy customers don’t complain; they simply do business elsewhere. Although they don’t complain to the business they’re unhappy about, most do to nine or ten of their friends, who in turn pass it on to their friends. Note that 13% of a business’s unhappy customers complain to 20 or more friends and acquaintances.
When it comes to the 4% of unhappy customers that do complain, 95% of them will remain as customers if their problem is quickly resolved. What’s more, if they are impressed by how well you solved their problem, they will tell five of their friends. Compare this with satisfied customers who normally say nothing, or at best speak to one or two of their friends. This being so, you should never be afraid of problems, for they are blessings in disguise, providing you with the opportunity to prove yourself and win your client’s praise by coming to their rescue.
If you are a business, customers will praise you; say nothing about you, or complain about you. However, how they react depends on how you treat them. Now let’s look at some tips on how we can build better business relationships.
Tips on Building Better Business Relationships
1. Accept people as they are – idiosyncrasies and all. Yes, the things we share in common make our relationships enjoyable, but it is our differences that make them interesting.
2. “Do good to your friends to keep them, to your enemies to win them.” (Benjamin Franklin, 1706~1790)
3. If you make people feel good about them, they will want to do business with you, but if you make them feel bad about them, they will look elsewhere.
4. For any relationship to succeed over the long term it must be based on a win-win partnership. Always make sure that both parties benefit, for when they do, why would anyone want to end the relationship?
5. The people you know and deal with form a human network. The more you know the people in your network the better positioned you are to help. Whenever you learn of something that will help one of them, pass it on. By providing this service you will become a valuable resource that people will appreciate.
6. Don’t forget that the people in your network can also be a significant resource for you. Tap into them from time to time to glean the latest information, tips, referrals, and ideas that can help you. This practice can also help to strengthen your relationships. Do this prudently.
7. Follow up on all your promises and commitments. Stay in touch via email, telephone calls, and face-to-face visits when possible.
8. Always be prepared to form new relationships. Be open and willing to form new relationships.
9. Become a master communicator. Good communicators are good listeners. What value does asking a good question provide if you don’t listen to the answer? Important as it is to listen to what is being said, far more important is to be alert to what is being revealed by body language and tone of voice, for the words we use merely represent about 10% of the message, while the tone of voice represents about 40%, and body language, about 50%.
Here’s an example. Apprehensive husband asks wife, “Is anything wrong?”
“No!” she states. (Verbal content, worth no more than 10% of the message.) But the tone of her voice reveals 40% of the message, which is, “Yes, I am upset.”
While stating her answer, her arms were crossed against her chest and she had an angry look on her face. Her body language (50% of the message) revealed something was upsetting her, despite her denial.
In summary, 90% of her message (tonality + body language) said, “Yes, something is wrong.” Only 10% (the verbal content) said, “No, nothing is wrong.” This simple example points out the importance of understanding all aspects of communication.
10. When working with clients, get to know as many people in the organization as possible, not only the boss, but his or her assistant, secretary, staff, receptionist. One day they may become a valuable ally or useful resource.
I limited this list to ten tips but there are many more. If these ten helped you to think about some ways to build better business relationships then I was successful.
If you have a favorite tip that you want to share please pass it on.