Relationships are the building blocks for all of our business activities.
The relationships we have with our coworkers, the communities we serve, and even our adversaries are the means for achieving our goals. People don’t work in isolation: we work together. It is our relationships all added together that are the foundation of an organized effort for change. We need lots of people to contribute their ideas, take a stand, and get the work done. There is power in numbers.
Build and nurture your relationships.
When people feel they know & trust who you are, they’ll invest in your brand every time. #PRTip 50 & 51, “806 PR Tips” (Download free at https://www.themediainsider.co/free-pr-downloads/)
A few guidelines for building better biz relationships:
Attend social engagements. Listen online to find them. Use tools like Linkedin, and Facebook events to find what is happening in your community. Your local chambers also host several activities a week to network.
Don’t ignore existing clients. Approximately 80 percent of your work will come from your current clients. Treat them well. Visit their businesses.
Donate time. Stake out a leadership position at an association that can benefit from your participation. You’ll meet and help others — and you’ll be seen, and meet new people.
Encourage Honest Feedback. An open, honest relationship demands clear communications of how each party is performing, Encourage constructive criticism and be brave enough to suggest ways clients can help your firm perform better. If you know where you stand, you can stand stronger.
Facetime. You have to use social media in your communications plan, but nothing can replace Face Time. Get out of the office. The single best way to grow your business is to bring yourself to the client and not just wait for the phone to ring. Largely, people hire people. They don’t hire companies. People hire people they know, like and trust. It’s called cultivating relationships — in person. Sure, we do it online — Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and others. But, nothing takes the place of personal interaction.
Give and Take. Offer something of value to those who are taking time to assist you, buy from you and network with you. I give Holiday gifts to each of my clients every year, and I hand deliver them. This small action will go very far in strengthening your relationship.
Image of Reliability – Whenever you make a promise or agree to a course of action, make sure you deliver, even if it is to drop off a brief thank you note. Persistence and reliability give you credibility.
Listen More Than You Talk. We all want to extol our strengths, our virtues in hopes of impressing others and, ultimately, getting more business. It’s counter-intuitive, but being a good listener highlights your virtues much better than being a big talker.
Look for opportunities to speak and teach. Offer yourself up to local Chambers. Join your local chapter of the National Speaking Association.
Make A Routine. Devise a system to ensure that not too much time passes before you connect with your contacts. And with social media, it’s never been easier to keep in touch.
Solicit feedback. Don’t assume your clients are satisfied. Ask them — in person. Personal conversations are always better than surveys, but any method is better than none at all.
Take clients to lunch or coffee. Listen to what they want and learn how you can serve them. One on one, the ideas will flow.
Take Notes. Keep detailed notes on everyone you meet. When you get back to the office, enter those notes into your address book or contact system. Later, you will want to be able to enter keywords. Doing keyword mining on your own contacts will pay dividends for years.
Training – Whenever you pursue additional training in your profession or sign up for courses in your area of interest, you will meet new people to network and exchange information on new opportunities.
Okay, now you’ve built some relationships. Relationships, like any other living thing, need care to keep them alive and healthy. So what do you do with them to keep them going?
- Pay attention to people.
Check in with people when you need to. This may take only a few minutes a week, but those few minutes can make the difference in helping your friend or co-worker remember the importance of the work you are doing together.
- Communicate openly
People need to communicate. It’s a good idea to set aside some time just to talk about the way things are going. When people don’t have a chance to talk about important issues, misunderstandings can occur and tensions often build up. Communication is a discipline that has to be practiced regularly.
- Appreciate each other
Everyone needs to be appreciated in order to keep relationships going. If you notice that someone did a stellar job, say so. If you enjoy working with someone, let them know. We are all human beings and appreciation helps us thrive.
- Back each other when things get tough
Loyalty is essential to keeping relationships healthy. We may not agree with a co-worker or friend, but we can stand by him or her when they are in a jam.
And, besides all the above, friends make the world just a little bit nicer.
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