Many believe that building business relationships revolves around collecting business cards, adding contacts on Linkedin, and sending e-mails. The real relationship in business is building a network of professionals that can share knowledge, learn from each other, and help each other grow professionally.
Before asking for something offer something.
Be patient. Relationships take time to nurture and grow. Take the time to get to know your potential client. Before you march into the office of the owner and offer your services, take the time to learn about the business.
- What do they do?
- Who do they sell to?
- Who are their target clients?
- What solution do they use now? How can you make it better?
- How much are they paying for the services that you offer currently?
- Can you save them money? How quickly?
Once you know the answer to all these, you can begin your marketing strategy. Chances are, the owner won’t be interested in what you can provide until the need is dire. Once the need is dire, it is your time to shine!
(Perfect transition to my next section….)
The 6-P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
You get one shot at this – make sure you are ready. Time and time again, people in this position have a golden opportunity to make a sales pitch, and they freeze up, or they draw a blank.
Be prepared for this moment. Practice for this moment. Don’t stop practicing when you think you got it right, stop practicing when you CAN’T get it wrong!
Keep your word.
There used to be a marketing campaign all over the media: “Absolutely, Positively there by 11AM” Do you think this company would be ok with a delivery at 11:02AM? If the motto is to get it there by 11AM, then get it there by 11AM. Keep your word so you have a chance to keep it again tomorrow.
Don’t over-commit. Under-commit and over-deliver. It is the easiest and quickest way to gain the trust of your clients.
Don’t fake it. If you don’t know, you will gain more respect by telling them you don’t know vs. trying to be quick on your feet and putting your foot in your mouth.
Trust is the most critical aspect of a business relationship. Trust makes anything possible.
I recently read a story on another blog (Wish I had saved the blog so I could give her credit…sorry!) about a young lady who would constantly shop at Nordstrom. On her last visit, the associate had a hard time swiping her Nordstrom card because the magnetic strip on the back had worn out. The associate had to manually enter the information and told her that she would need a new card. To her surprise, a shiny new card arrived in the mail within a few days of her shopping experience. Clearly, a sales associate willing to go the extra mile to make sure the customer is satisfied. That’s customer service.
What is your #1 business relationship secret? What can our readers benefit from your experiences?