Think about the most successful business person you know. Place an image of them in your mind; speaking with a potential client, delegating a task to an employee, speaking to a partner in a board meeting. One thing should be clear about their demeanor; they treat those around them in a way that establishes and maintains positive business relationships.
Good business requires great business relationships.
The dictionary defines a business relationship as a “formal contractual relationship established to provide for regular banking or brokerage or business services.” It seems to me this entire paradigm misses the point. The world is filled with people, not products and consumers. These real people desire a connection with other people – people they want to work with and can trust for the long term.
No matter what your profession, it’s vital to establish and maintain relationships. Here are my top 10 reasons why you need to focus on establishing positive relationships for a growing business and increasing success:
1. Company identity: reputation, image
Branding is huge. Being kind, courteous and attentive to clients will instantly infuse your brand with some personality. People will come to know you and your business as trustworthy. Establishing a corporate ‘self’ isn’t just a trick for marketers. You can improve your brand every day by maintaining positive relationships.
2. Long-term profitability: regular clients
Selling one thing to one person doesn’t make a business. It takes loyal repeat customers to really fuel the fires of commercial success. We are moving more and more towards a subscription model of business with the ultimate goal being to establish and maintain business relationships with clients for the long term.
3. Brand resilience: business, even in the hardest times
When times are tight, purse strings are too. People are risk averse by nature and will cut back business when times are tough. What little business that is being done will be done between friends. Increase your stability during the low-times by maintaining a strong network of relationships. This point remains true in personal life as well.
4. Clients/customer satisfaction
It’s impossible to get everything right all the time, but it is important to fix problems when they arise. Clients can easily move past issues if they are treated with respect and really listened to. Customer-facing staff need to be aware that their behaviour directly affects your business relationships and shapes the future of your company. A happy customer is crucial for a thriving business.
5. Word of mouth advertisement
People want to share quality information with friends and colleagues, and will readily recommend your products and services if you establish a positive relationship with them. This can be achieved by honing up on your communication and business etiquette in order to make a sparkling impression. Word of mouth marketing starts with you.
6. Improved teamwork and working environment
Healthy business relationships between co-workers are vital for an energetic workplace. By treating your colleagues with respect and warmth, you will increase productivity and the desire to do a good job. A grumpy boss can immediately throw the whole work atmosphere into a gloom. Sow the seeds of respect and you will reap the rewards.
7. Improved communication skills
More effective communication lead to more confidence when interacting with clients and colleagues. When we approach a relationship with a solid communication skillset, we become positive thinkers rather than self-doubters. When you tend to business relationships with positive intent and self-confidence, you are setting yourself up for success.
Business relationships can turn into friendships. After college, the majority of new friendships are started between co-workers and colleagues. It isn’t fun to be alone all the time doing paperwork and staring out the window. Establish positive relationships with your co-workers and they could become life-long friends.
9. Personal well-being
It’s not only about profit. Having positive relationships with those around you can infuse your day with joy and fulfillment. To develop happiness at the workplace you need to be open, affirming and feel good about the people you work with.
10. Networking and social media
Strong business relationships require nurturing. The more you positively interact with a person, the closer you two become over time. This influence can spread into an entire network of interconnected influence, where each person maintains a thread of connection between increasing numbers of others. If you need to be heard by a large number of people, you need them to be listening to you already. In this noisy world, simply shouting into the crowd won’t get you noticed. Maintain your network and you have a voice.
From my experience, a business relationship is a natural extension of a personal connection, with the fundamental distinction of an added element of mutual (business) gain. Establishing and maintaining strong business relationships is key to a happy and successful career.
This moment is a perfect opportunity to network. Start now by liking this post so you can share with your friends on Facebook.