Relationships in business (as in life), be that with your clients or customers are all about one very simple fact, they are all built upon trust; them trusting you and you trusting them.
Hark back to when you were in a romantic mood. You spend time wining and dining your potential loved one. This goes on for some time, until the day he or she felt they could not live without you and low and behold you end up getting married!! Well just like romance a business relationship doesn’t happen instantly it all takes time. Trust and credibility needs to be earned on both sides of the relationship.
But it’s a risk, starting out neither business really knows it each and trust along with credibility needs to be earned. In building that trust there needs to a willingness to risk being completely open and honest with your clients and customers. Why? Simple they then are able to see the real honest business/business person that you are, complete with strengths and weaknesses.
By being open you find that you are perceived as someone with nothing to hide, and your clients don’t feel as though you are pulling the wool over their eyes. Thus building the trust that is so crucial to getting that business relationship and the ultimate goal, long term business.
It’s an all too common occurrence to base our businesses upon fear of losing business, failure of not delivering and rejection from potential clients. We don’t always have the right answers or solutions to people’s business problems, but by laying aside our business ‘ghosts’ again make us very open and that is what potential clients see in you as integrity. Knowing your limitations and knowing exactly who you are and what you and your business is about and not hiding things from clients will be some of true value to your customers.
Potential clients understand you a little because of how you market yourself; your marketing tells them that you are putting yourself forward as a company/person who has knowledge and expertise in your chosen field. But like a relationship, what companies want to know is do you value them? As we said earlier, building that trust with your clients is not an overnight thing. Like in a romance there are things that you have to do to build that trust.
What You Have To Do To Build Business Relationships:-
- Take a real interest in a potential clients business and don’t just tell them about your own. It’s a bit of a mantra of mine, but people are not interested in your business, they just want to know that you can solve their business problems and knowing their business and what problems needs solved only comes from asking questions about their business. Your will then and only then understand a potential clients needs.
- When a potential or established client calls or emails you make sure you are thinking of them and call them back or return emails right away or as soon as you can. It doesn’t matter if you have the answer they are looking for, it shows them that you interested in them.
- Find out what they are up to. Check out their websites, read about them in trade magazine or publication, and ask to be on their mailing lists. Call them, meet them and comment on new things that are happening for them. Tell them well done. Get them potential business if you can. But just do it.
- Clients, like in a relationship like to feel that they are the only ones in your life/business. So don’t go talking about other clients. You are interested in them remember. Thank them for their time, and agreeing to meet with you and action straightaway or as soon as you can any points that come out of your meeting.
- Positive people attract positive people, if you carry around with you the weight of the world on your shoulder, it’s the last thing they want to hear as they probably have issues of their own and don’t want to hear about yours. So keep smiling at them.
- As in life I am sure from time to time your clients do things that annoy you. But resist the urge to criticise them. The business community can be like a small village sometime and anything negative you say can get round to your client like wildfire. So if you can’t say anything positive, know when to shut up.
- If you make any mistakes, own up straight away. Don’t lie, if your client feels they have been lied to, you can bet you pay a hefty price for it. In the form of lost business or no business at all!!!
So by following these simple ideas your clients will see that you are honest, considerate, polite and have integrity, therefore you should be enjoying a happy and trusting business relationship for many years to come.