Business is only as good as the connections it takes to make it all work. In order to keep ties close and business relationships strong, there are some essential steps you need to take. Here are five secrets to building stronger business relationships.
Good Old-fashioned Etiquette
Everyone likes feeling honored and valued, and there are easy steps you can take to help your clients or colleagues feel appreciated. Try some carefully selected corporate gifts to celebrate birthdays, milestones, or other accomplishments, no matter how big or small. Don’t forget to send thank you cards after dealings to let others know you appreciate the work they do. These small gestures go a long way in the business world. Gifts and thank you notes aren’t just for grandmas anymore.
After a business deal, it is important to follow up. Whether it is to reassure them that the plan is progressing well, to tie up loose ends, or to send out a thank you card (as we mentioned above), following up is an important part of keeping business relationships strong. This keeps your client or colleague from feeling like you’re just in it for what they can do for you. However, you don’t want to be bothersome, so be sure the learn the tricks needed to avoid being annoying.
Find the Benefit for Both Parties
Life is about give-and-take. The equation needs to be balanced for this to work, so it is important to find the biggest benefit for both parties in any situation. Of course, there will be times where an IOU will be held for longer than usual, but those gifts, thank you’s, and follow-ups will reassure your client or colleague of your goodwill and the fact that they are appreciated. If your negotiation skills are a little rusty, be sure to do your research so you’re always able to create positive outcomes for everyone involved.
Keep Realistic Expectations
No-one likes disappointment, yet many allow that terrible grade-school habit of over-exaggerating their capabilities to linger around. Whenever communicating or creating common goals, be reasonable with what others can expect from you so you don’t come off as a flake when your over-promised results don’t roll in. You want to remain valuable, so don’t set standards too low, but be wary of the land of hyperbole. It is one thing to prove yourself consistently reliable. It is completely another to claim you are the best of the best but then fall short of your angelic declarations.
You know the old adage: most people listen to reply instead of listening to understand. This can become the norm in society, so listen and actually hear what the other person is saying. By tailoring your response to keep the conversation going, you can set yourself apart from the competition. People love being heard, so take your time, face your conversation partner, and really listen to their point of view. This comes in handy everywhere from heated business meetings to small talk after sealing the deal. Be mindful of what you say, but be even more mindful of what the other person is telling you.
Business relations are tricky to manage. While you can make up for insulting your great aunt at Thanksgiving by being extra sweet Christmas, business relationships are far more complex and time-sensitive. With all the competition in your field, it is important to take every step you can to foster beneficial corporate connections and set yourself in good stead for years of success. Which of these five secrets will you try first to keep the machine oiled and your future bright?