Creating strong, strategic relationships with clients, prospects, and networking connections is one key to a successful business. In today’s world, increased competition and an explosion of communication vehicles require a different approach to the way in which a company operates its business. Creating solid, long-lasting relationships requires an investment in time, energy, resources, and, most importantly, people.
Below are four ways you can build solid, sustained relationships:
1) Make a Commitment
Good relationships do not happen overnight. They require more than a quick connection on social media or an exchange of a business card at a networking event. You need to invest time and effort from the start of a valuable relationship. Consider the various opportunities that allow you to present yourself to potential clients and customers. Once a connection is made, determine how it can turn into a sustained relationship. It’s important to demonstrate how you’re different than other providers in both the quality and the quantity of your interactions – timely and insightful communications are key. Categorizing your relationships into “A” “B” and “C” contacts makes the management process easier.
2) Focus on Value-Added Connections
Spend time nurturing relationships that can expand the reach of your business. This will give you a greater opportunity to market your company through increased exposure and word of mouth. Even if the individual you are forming a relationship with doesn’t have a need for your product or service, it’s entirely possible that their relationships do.
3) Become a Trusted Advisor
Building trust through a series of thoughtful interactions and proactive offerings can earn you the title of a trusted advisor. These encounters help your relationships understand what your business is about and what you have to offer. It is important to be genuine and consistent in your communications.
4) Get Personal
Connecting on a personal level can strengthen existing relationships. Work to understand your client’s goals, passions, and the struggles they encounter on a daily basis. A good start is asking the simple question, “What keeps you up at night?” In addition, uncovering common interests and remembering life events outside of work show you are someone who cares.
Strategic relationships provide the ultimate competitive advantage for a business. Spending some time to build and nurture these relationships can pay dividends down the road.
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