Are you a master at building and maintaining strong business relationships? This is a communication skill that is not always easy to develop. And not everyone even sees it as an important skill. But I think it’s imperative to be successful in today’s dynamic international environment.
Assessing my own ability to build strong business relationships
As I look back on 13 years of training in Europe, building long-term business relationships wasn’t something I did consciously. It was a natural result of working with clients to ensure I knew what their training needs were and then ensuring that these needs were met, both during training and after the participants left the training room.
I only realized I was building strong long-term relationships when I started my own business. What I learned from this experience is that my business partners work with me because they know me, they value the service I provide, and they understand the results they will get. And, they are happy to recommend me because of this.
How can YOU achieve strong business relationships?
It’s not rocket science but it does require awareness, time and effort, as does developing any new communication skill. Check out my 10 Quick Tips so you’ll have what you need on your journey to creating strong business relationships. But please, keep Quick Tip #10 in mind – ALWAYS. Because if you don’t, your business partner will sense it right away, and you could end up doing more damage than good.
Quick Tip #1 – Know your objectives
Identify key business partners and relationships and know what results you want from these relationships.
Quick Tip #2 – Focus on we, not I
Develop relationships with ‘we’ in mind. Focus on how you can work together to achieve results that will bring you both more success.
Quick Tip #3 – Build rapport
Find commonalities in your work or life experience to create meaningful connections. Trust will grow from these connections.
Quick Tip #4 – Give more than you take
Support your business partner by sharing your knowledge and expertise. Helping others will strengthen your network.
Quick Tip #5 – Understand communication styles
Develop an awareness for your communication style and theirs. This way, you can adapt your language, style and form of communication to best suit your key business partners. Which should be balanced with Quick Tip #6…
Quick Tip #6 – Assert yourself
Be direct and honest, show how you can add value, and don’t lose yourself in the process of trying to build the relationship, your business or mutual success.
Quick Tip #7 – Be aware of culture
Communicate clearly and respectfully. Being unaware of the impact of language, behaviour and culture can result in unintentional offences that can quickly destroy the trust you were building.
Quick Tip #8 – Keep in touch
Communicate regularly with key business partners by offering them something of value. (Sometimes for nothing!)
Quick Tip #9 – Be a good listener
Ask questions, and then really listen to the answers. It shows your business partner that you value what they are saying, and it will give you insight into what they need so you can respond accordingly.
Quick Tip #10 – Be authentic
Be yourself and be authentic. Most people can sense a fake attempt at building rapport and relationship immediately, and you’ll lose the opportunity to create mutual success.
The bottom line?
To create strong business relationships, be yourself, provide excellent customer service, keep in touch and add value.
P.S. What other key strategies do you have to build strong business relationships? Share them here in the comments or on the QACommunication Facebook page with the other 1,200 fans. We’d love to hear what works well for YOU!