Be honest, how many times has someone told you it is important to build relationships in your career? And how many times do you expect to hear it in the next several years? For me, the answer to both questions is more times than I could possibly count. Is building strong relationships really important or is it just some business cliché?
I would argue that regardless of our job responsibilities, building better business and personal relationships should always be our number one priority. Let’s take a moment to explore why that is and to begin to understand how we can accomplish our goal of building better relationships.
1) Be GREAT in Your Relationships
Get personal. Be open and talk to people one on one. Treat each person as an individual, and don’t clump them into categories. Be willing to share experiences and points of view. Learn something about their personal lives. Learn their story and share yours.
Respect each individual. This is a quote from Albert Einstein, “I speak to everyone the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.” Developing mutual respect is essential to the process of relationship building.
Expectations must be clear. No one can read your mind. Set your expectations frequently, and allow your business partners to do the same.
Authenticity. Be yourself, and accept others as they are.
Think about your customers. What are they looking for? Understand where they are coming from.
2) Make Your RELATIONSHIPS Great
Resourceful. Be resourceful so your business partner can and will rely on you.
Entrepreneurial. An effective entrepreneur is creative, perseveres despite setbacks, and develops social skills to deal with new demands and a changing landscape.
Let it go. At times, it is best to walk away from deals. Don’t react when you are angry. Pause, calm down and keep yourself from saying or doing something you might regret.
All work and no play makes for a dull and listless relationship. Have some fun with your business partners.
Trust. Stephen Covey wrote, “Trust is the glue of life. It is the most essential ingredient in effective communication.” Nothing is more important than finding people you can trust and then acting upon that trust.
I’ve got your back. Show your partners that you will support them when necessary, particularly when it supports your goals.
Offer to help before asking for help. Find ways to help your business partners. Don’t just expect them to do something for you.
Network. Make connections with people. You never know when it will help you and it can be surprisingly enjoyable.
Schedule time to work together. When working on a deal or a piece of new business, find time to think about how you both can succeed.
Help out. Make helping your business partner your first priority.
Interact as frequently as possible. That can be face-to-face, email, phone, or social media. Talk to them, meet with them, write to them, and show gratitude for the business they give you. Do whatever you can to increase the frequency of your interactions. And always maintain a positive attitude.
Partnership. This word gets thrown out at virtually every business meeting. However you define your relationship with your business partners, thinking about building individual partnerships will help enhance your experience and success.
Share goals and the work with your business partner. Help them understand what you need. Help them gather information so you both will succeed. Don’t think of certain tasks as being their responsibility or as solely yours.
3) Communication Is Key
The most important tactic in building relationships is to communicate, communicate, communicate. George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Poor communication is a deterrent to building rapport and good communication skills enhance every relationship. Words matter. Attitude matters. Empathy matters. Listen. If we remember these simple thoughts, we will build strong relationships and create loyalty. Loyal customers forgive mistakes and overlook deficiencies.
IDEAS FOR THIS ARTICLE CAME FROM SEVERAL SOURCES:
- “5 Lessons for Strong Business Partnerships.” An article found in Forbes Magazine and written by Patrick Hull
- “11 Ways to Build Solid, Strong, Lasting Business Relations.” By Deborah Shane in “Marketing Tips”
- “The Importance of Business Relationships. Build a Strong Team” by Kimberly Laws.
Acadia Insurance is pleased to share this material with its customers. Please note, however, that nothing in this document should be construed as legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for general informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.