In the business world relationships are the fuel of success. Regardless of what people sell, or how great their products are, the ties/relationships business owners make with customers, employees, vendors, and even competitors are what really matter.
Strong, trusting relationships will help your business make it through the tough times – ensuring that regardless of the market conditions or tight deadlines, they will still be around to support you. Business relationships need time, effort, attention, and care to sustain them.
Tips to strengthen ties with your business relationships.
Encourage Honest Feedback
When you encourage an atmosphere of honest feedback exchange, you will know where you need to improve and how to make your services/products more attune to your clients’ requirements
Ask clients about your product and customer service.
Ask them how else they think you can improve, and what factors need sprucing up.
Don't be offended, especially if the criticism is constructive.
Remember, it also took courage for the other party to tell you what you are doing wrong.
Listen More; Talk Less
As business owners, sometimes, we feel a need to keep on talking about how great our products are, how they can help solve a problem or fill in a need of a customer, how reasonable our prices are, how excellent the quality, etc.
We get so caught up on an endless litany of sales talk that we forget one important factor – when selling, sometimes, it is better to listen first to what your client has to say. When you talk less and listen, you actually avoid making the impression that "it's all about you" – and not about the needs of the customer.
Imagine yourself in the shoes of the person you're selling to. If you don't like hearing your own sales pitch, then it's time to talk less, and listen more.
Devise A Routine of Following up
Especially when you have so many customers and other business relations (lucky you!), it is easy to focus on a few, and then leave the majority hanging – hoping to hear from you.
This is a huge mistake, because "out of sight, out of mind".
When it comes to business relationships, you may easily get a cold shoulder treatment if you drop them a call only when you need their help. Even with friendships, this is not advisable.
Put a premium on your relationships with people – the key is to be always present, whether it be through a simple text message, email, phone call, or a physical visit.
Keep it regular – devise a plan of getting in touch on a regular basis with people – this is the best way they won't forget you, your business, and your friendship.
It is expected that you know everything pertinent to your business, but if you truly don't know some things, be honest to people – rather than give them misleading or wrongful information.
Everyone has shortcomings – no person, let alone business owner, can possibly know everything.
When you give the impression that you are not a know-it-all, you come off as humble and likeable. People are actually more drawn to a trustworthy person than to a bookish expert who has little or no time to establish good relationships with people who help him and his business alive and kicking.
Remember: Relationships are keys to surviving in the world of business.
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