It is vital to build the right relationship with your customers if you want your business to grow. Your business exists because you have customers therefore it is important that you treat them right so that they can continue to be loyal to you. Building good customer relationships is as important as providing excellent products or services.
Exploring healthy relationship in your business growth will help you keep your customers and also increase their numbers. There are certain important aspects of building successful customer relations. It includes a combination of quality service, loyalty schemes, incentives, and rewards.
- How to Build a Healthy Customer Relationship for Your Business
- How do you Build a Healthy Business Relationship?
- Why is it Important to have Good Relationships in Business?
- What is a Healthy Business Relationship?
- What are the 5 Ways to Build Great Work Relationships?
- Why is it Important for a Business to Maintain a Good Relationship With the Consumer?
- What are the Key Components of a Business Relationship?
- Why are Relationships Important to Success?
- How do you Nurture Business Relationships?
How to Build a Healthy Customer Relationship for Your Business
Build A Database
Before you can start an effective customer relationship program, you need to have a detailed list of your existing customers. Their names, contact details and other important information have to be documented. Building this database will be easy for you if you use a CRM software program. A lot of these programs are now available on the market. Once you have your list, the next step is to identify targets for special schemes, incentives or offers.
Implement A Regular Communication Program
Regular communication with customers can be done through newsletters, email, anniversary cards and so on. You can also invite certain customers to company events in order to build stronger relationships with them. Apart from sending postcards and emails, important customers should also be given a phone call as occasion demands.
Maintaining Your Customer Relationship Program
Once you have put in place a customer relationship program, it is vital to carry along your employees. Without the right training, your efforts at improving your relationship with your customers will not succeed. Every worker in your company has to understand the practical details of the customer relationship program that you have put in place. The interpersonal skills of your workers have to be developed because they are the ones who relate with customers on a day to day basis.
It is also vital to back up your customer relationship program with the provision of excellent service. If your service is efficient and cost-effective, customers will be easily satisfied and you will have fewer complaints. Better service will also help you to win more customers.
Handle Complaints Professionally
No matter the quality of service that is provided by your company, there will be negative comments and complaints about your products or services from time to time. The way you handle these incidences will have a great impact on your overall customer relationship management. This is the real test of the customer relationship skill of your company. Your employees have to be trained to take responsibility for defective items and to replace them after proper verification.
How do you Build a Healthy Business Relationship?
Business relationships are the connections you build with your customers, team members and business partners. Starting relationships in a positive way can help you maintain long-lasting, productive connections to help an organization grow. Learning how to start positive relationships could help you expand your professional network and succeed in your business career.
Here are 10 methods you can use to help you start and sustain positive business relationships with your clients, team members, and financial partners. These steps can also help you maintain current and future relationships for business growth and success:
1. Be yourself
Being yourself could help start positive relationships in the workplace. It may also be easier to build and maintain positive relationships when you start them in an authentic way. By being authentic, you can help show your team members and clients that they can trust you.
You can show your authentic self in the workplace by developing communication skills, building interpersonal skills and practicing active listening. This can help relationship partners feel comfortable around you and trust that you’re offering genuine support and connection.
2. Develop effective networking opportunities
One way to start effective relationships with your business partners is to develop effective networking opportunities. This can vary depending on your industry, but it may include a conference, charity event or retreat. Scheduling fun and productive opportunities to meet professionals in your field can help you start effective business relationships. It can also allow you to catch up with previous connections to reestablish lines of communication.
3. Ask questions
When talking to a new business connection, consider asking questions to help you start a positive relationship. You may ask questions about the individual’s interests, work or thoughts. By asking questions, you can open up a dialogue.
It may also show the person that you’re interested in their thoughts, which can help lead to a more positive interaction. In the future, this collaborative communication can make your partner feel more secure in sharing their ideas and thoughts within the relationship.
4. Create clear expectations
Another way to start a productive business connection is by establishing clear expectations at the beginning of a new relationship. This can vary depending on the relationship. It might look like sharing a company handbook, using an onboarding training session, or discussing work responsibilities for employees. For clients, this might include a contract or onboarding meeting.
During these sessions, you can and the other party can discuss your expectations. Whether you are working together for a project or a certain period, you can establish the terms. When each person knows what they’re expected to do, it may lead to a more effective and positive work experience. This positive work environment can continue for the duration of your relationship.
5. Find common goals and interests
Consider finding shared interests and goals to help you begin positive business relationships. For clients and business partners, this may include connecting over a shared financial objective, such as earning a higher revenue in the next quarter.
For team members, it might include your shared career goals or industry interests. You may also discuss topics outside of work to help you find shared interests, such as hobbies. This can be a great way to bond with a new connection. These shared interests can offer starting points for conversation as the relationship continues.
6. Communicate frequently
Communication is an important part of a productive business relationship. Consider contacting your new business connection regularly at the beginning of your relationship to establish a communication pattern.
This can vary depending on the specific relationship but may include weekly check-ins, monthly reports or daily stand-up meetings. By establishing a clear communication schedule, you can show your new business connection that you’re dependable and want to connect with them often.
7. Set realistic goals and deadlines
Consider setting clear goals and deadlines to create a more positive experience throughout a business relationship. For example, when meeting with a new client, you can help establish trust by being honest about deadlines and project deliverables. When collaborating with team members, creating realistic goals for them may help them succeed.
8. Consider a relationship management plan
A relationship management plan is a tool professionals can use to build long-lasting productive business connections. It can vary depending on your industry and personal preferences, but it can include a communication schedule, meetings and contact names.
For example, when working with a new client, you can establish which team member may contact the client and how often. By planning these elements, you can help build successful relationships from the start.
9. Create a clear schedule
Establishing a work schedule for projects, deliverables and meetings can help establish an environment of trust and respect. For your clients and business partners, this may include a contract or initial planning meeting. For employees, you may discuss their expected schedule during onboarding or training. Throughout the relationship, it’s important to maintain this schedule and communicate any delays or interruptions as soon as possible.
10. Be honest about costs and prices
Being transparent about your costs and prices can help start a positive relationship. Honesty about prices can help your clients, customers and partners trust you. During your consultation or first meeting, share your fees and prices up front to help start a productive relationship.
With customers, try to be transparent about your fees and price changes, so they can develop trust in your company. If your prices ever change, provide your relationship partner with a clear explanation to maintain the connection.
Why is it Important to have Good Relationships in Business?
It’s because creating a relationship with both new and potential customers allows businesses to offer a more personalized and enticing customer experience. And it is exactly the quality of the experience you offer that will determine whether of not you’ll establish long-term business success
In a recent study, 86% of customers claim their experiences are just as important as the actual product or service they purchase.
This means businesses are not only required to provide products or services their customers need, but they also must also deliver a great end-to-end experience across every touchpoint.
We all have heard about Return on Investment (ROI) – a performance metric used to evaluate the effectiveness of money being spent and the profit that it yields.
If we look from a relationship perspective, a new and more effective term can be of use – Return on Relationship (ROR). It can provide deeper insights on the effectiveness of a business’s personality and its ability to connect with people.
Ted Rubin, a leading social marketing strategist and CMO of Photofy, defines ROI and ROR as follows:
“ROR (Return on Relationship) is the value accrued by a person or a brand due to nurturing a relationship. ROI (Return on Investment) is simple dollars and cents. ROR is the value (perceived and real) that will accrue over time through loyalty, recommendations, and sharing.”
And it is ROR that puts an emphasis on building positive relationships.
What is a Healthy Business Relationship?
Few would argue with the notion that building business relationships is critical in professional services. And while marketing efforts typically focus on pricing and service strategy, or articulation of a firm’s competitive position, their real advantage lies in the strength of their relationships.
Just like any personal relationship, business relationships require continual maintenance. A mutual benefit and ongoing communication are important ingredients to success. In the long run, having close and trusting contacts will give you an edge, especially when other marketing tactics aren’t working.
Here are 5 keys to building and maintaining business relationships:
1. Routinely Reach Out to Important Contacts
It is impossible to have weekly or monthly conversations with all of the contacts in your CRM system. But you can focus on the valuable ones. Pinpoint your best clients, partners, and vendors and continually check up on them. Express your interest in their business and let them know that you are here to help. If you want to keep the relationship alive make this outreach routine.
If you let too much time go by, your eventual contact will seem less genuine. And don’t ignore the power of your LinkedIn connections. When executed properly, a social media strategy is the digital sister to in-person networking – and it can be a fast and efficient way to ensure you are routinely reaching out.
2. Offer Help Before You Ask for Help
Building business relationships doesn’t mean tapping into your resources whenever you need something. If the only time you ever contact a former client is when you have a new service offering, your gesture won’t seem authentic. Similarly, if you call your vendor only when you are looking for a good deal, don’t expect to get one.
Spend time figuring out how you can help your important business contacts. What value can you offer to spark the conversation?
3. Ask for Feedback
Instead of assuming your clients and vendors are happy, ask! Open communication is a basic component of any relationship. When you ask your contacts how they feel, you promote a two-way conversation that can uncover areas for improvement. Some firms conduct client satisfaction surveys to gather feedback. But usually, it’s best to pick up the phone and talk to your closest contact at a firm. If this is your top client, you want to make sure they are content.
4. Find Ways to Connect with Less Valuable Contacts
As new contacts enter your world, try to build trust over time with email marketing. Because you can’t interact with everyone in your email address book on a weekly basis, leverage technology to do some of the work for you.
Customer relationship management (CRM) systems allow you to set up email sequences that will routinely send emails to your contacts. This is no substitute for a real relationship, but it will at least keep your firm on the top of people’s minds.
Note that this does not mean blasting your list with non-targeted emails. Instead, focus on educational content that your audience will find relevant and practical. There are two types of emails to consider:
- Educational emails provide content that is meant to be informative. These emails give something of value to the reader without asking for anything in return. Because educational emails are highly valued by your audience, they should make up about 80% of the emails that you send out.
- Offer emails are for when you want the recipient to do something, such as download a presentation or paper, and you are hoping to move them to a deeper level of engagement. Whether this engagement is a meeting or trying out one of your services, you want them to take a specific next step. Although offer emails should account for the other 20% of emails, you wouldn’t want to send these until you’ve created value for your audience. And offer emails should only go to folks who have already downloaded several pieces of your content. Unless specifically requested, you absolutely would not want an offer email to be sent to someone you just met at a networking event.
Here are a few tips we’ve discovered for highly effective email marketing:
- Ensure the look and feel of your email reflects your brand at every touchpoint.
- Ensure they are mobile friendly.
- Segment your distribution list so you can be strategic about which emails go to which list.
- Remember the 80/20 rule. No matter how many or how few emails you send out, the balance of them (80%) should be educational, while the remainder (20%) are offers.
- Make sure you have a way for people to unsubscribe.
- Consider the subject line carefully. To encourage high open rates, go with 40 characters or less, and be very clear. Subject lines aren’t the time to be too clever or leave too much up to the reader’s imagination. Just say what the email is about. Trust us, the payoff will be there.
- Lastly, be aware that there are certain trigger words that can send your email straight into the spam or junk folder. Words like “cheap” or “sale,” and sometimes even “free,” when placed in the subject line can signal the email is spam and it won’t get through the filter.
5. Educate, don’t sell.
If building relationships requires trust and credibility, then educating – as opposed to selling – is a big enabler of professional services relationships.
And the most effective way to educate is through a consistent flow of thought leadership. By definition, thought leadership marketing makes your expertise highly visible to the public. Regardless of whether your experts are publishing on your blog, in other publications, on social media, or elsewhere, their association with your firm makes you more visible to potential leads.
The depth of content required to build your profile as a high visibility expert means that potential buyers have the opportunity to learn a lot about your firm before making initial contact.
This level of visibility and expertise increases the trust and credibility of your firm. Think of it this way: there’s a reason that popular brands at a grocery store sell better than store brands, despite typically coming with a higher price tag. People trust what they know.
What are the 5 Ways to Build Great Work Relationships?
When you build strong relationships with your coworkers, you’re helping to encourage an open and collaborative environment for everyone on the team. This often leads to higher morale, which promotes productivity and more effective communication. Also, you may find that good relationship with your coworkers simply improve your work experience in general. Lower stress levels and greater enjoyment of your work can benefit everyone on your team.
Follow these steps to build and develop strong relationships with your coworkers:
1. Develop trust with your colleagues
Be responsible for your work assignments and deadlines. Develop trust with and among colleagues with fair and honest commitments. Apologize if you can’t complete your obligations on time, and do your best to find a solution. These steps will help you demonstrate that you are a responsible and reliable person.
When people trust you, they will be more likely to value your experience, judgment and opinions. Hard work, honesty and a positive professional demeanor are traits that will take you a long way in your career, and they will help you make an impact in any new role. If coworkers trust one another, they’re more likely to make productive suggestions and share ideas during meetings.
2. Maintain consistent communication
One key factor in establishing a good relationship is communication on a daily basis, whether it is online or in person. Many interpersonal problems in the workplace can be solved with open and honest communication.
To build a successful relationship, take care to show interest in your conversations and listen carefully to other people’s opinions. You can adjust and level your conversation with the person you are speaking with and watch for important nonverbal communication signs.
Sharing about the things you do at work with your colleagues helps you build stronger bonds and relationships. Ask questions to better understand your coworker’s viewpoints, or give them a chance to express their opinions by listening carefully. To be more productive and happy in the workplace, it is crucial to learn how to diplomatically communicate and acquire some skills for successful conflict resolutions.
If any conflicts happen between you and your coworker, take the time to calmly discuss the issue and come to a solution that benefits both of you. This will help you ensure a more comfortable working environment in the future.
3. Show appreciation and respect for others
Respect is a valuable foundation of any great relationship. Being mindful is something that people recognize and appreciate, and it makes a workplace better in general. Be tolerant and empathetic to everyone in a group. Create a motivating work environment by complimenting, endorsing and perceiving contributions by your colleagues.
Everyone has a different perspective, so embracing different viewpoints on a situation at work can help you maintain a positive and open attitude. Respecting the people you work with means that you value their views and ideas. This will enable effective and creative working relationships that will benefit both you and your colleagues, which will encourage diverse opinions and new discussions.
4. Speak well of your team members
If you ever speak about a coworker, always try to keep your comments positive. Gossip tends to travel quickly in the workplace, but the praise you give someone else can spread just as fast. When you speak highly of others, you can help establish yourself as a positive and supportive team member. If you have an issue with one of your coworkers, it will be far more productive to speak with them alone and try to resolve the issue peacefully.
5. Be positive
A key part of building healthy relationships is to retain a positive attitude towards your coworkers. Team members tend to experience increased motivation and satisfaction in the workplace when they’re confident that they’re part of a team. This affects an employee’s desire to stay in the team and contributes towards the implementation of the work tasks.
People who understand each other and feel comfortable with one another are more likely to have a positive attitude and maintain a good mood at work. People function better when they are in the company of relaxed and satisfied peers. Congratulate colleagues whenever they’ve accomplished a goal. Such gestures will help you show your coworkers that you value them, and it can lead to stronger relationships.
Why is it Important for a Business to Maintain a Good Relationship With the Consumer?
Building a working relationship with customers is key to the long-term success of a business. Having a strong connection based on trust and communication helps customers feel more secure and connected with a brand, and it can also lead to growing customer retention and your repeat purchase rate.
However, there are many more benefits to using the superpowers of relationship marketing.
Ecommerce is on the Rise
Ecommerce, in general, is becoming increasingly popular. According to eMarketer, “US e-commerce sales will reach $794.50 billion this year, up 32.4% year-over-year.”
In addition to the general growth of e-commerce, the pandemic is accelerating the popularity of online sales. From CNBC, BestBuy saw that “online sales were up 242% during its fiscal second quarter.”
This is in largely due to consumers stocking up on electronic appliances for their home offices and other entertainment necessities while spending the majority of their time at home.
With consumers less likely to enter a physical store, it becomes more important to start building strong relationships in the online space.
Consumers are spending less time browsing products and lingering in stores, so using your marketing channels to connect with them early is key. When you build deep customer connections, customers will think of your brand first when they need to purchase a specific item. This saves them time from searching the web for that product and discovering a brand they aren’t sure they can trust.
In addition, when online shopping, ensuring the safety of a customer’s data is paramount to building a positive relationship. With a world that is defaulting to online communication and transactions, it’s becoming more of a priority to ensure your users’ data and private information is safe and secure.
Using Identity and access management resources to reduce risk and ensure safe customer information is a great initial step toward ensuring customer privacy. For instance, enabling multi-factor authentication means that you are required to provide multiple credentials to access information, such as a secondary password or a code sent to your phone.
Using technology tools to your advantage is a simple way to prevent possible security breaches, and consistently maintain customer security.
Customers enjoy being heard
Many consumers enjoy engaging with a brand and feel valued when brands provide opportunities to connect. Connection and relationships, in general, are very important to today’s shoppers, and the customer experience has a massive impact on purchasing decisions.
One study from PWC shared “73% of all people point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.” Fostering consumer engagement can be a great way to build customer loyalty and encourage brand advocacy.
There are several interactive marketing tools that businesses can use to ensure their customers are engaging with a brand and building customer relationships.
For example, when quizzes and surveys are incorporated into sales and discounts, customers are actively engaged with brands and have a memorable experience. Quizzes themselves direct customers to other items they may have been previously unaware of, and can increase average order value.
In addition to quizzes, actively request feedback from your customers through post-purchase surveys or emails. This shows you validate your customer’s opinions, which fosters that community feel and leads to customers engaging more.
Providing an experience that is more than simply clicking buttons, but enables the consumer to be engrossed in the buying process, can help people connect with businesses and be eager to return.
Building relationships increases customer retention
Building a relationship with customers is not an easy task, but putting in the effort can be extremely rewarding for both parties.
Building meaningful customer relationships is beneficial to both customers and organizations. In fact, 86% of customers who have an “emotional connection” with a brand are more likely to continue business in the future.
This reinforces the idea that a good first impression and nurturing consumer relationships from the start can pay off down the road.
In addition, when customers have a positive interaction with your brand, they’ll be more likely to refer it to their friends and family. According to Millennial Marketing, “68% of consumers are willing to refer name brands to a friend.”
Providing a customer with a satisfactory experience expands your brand name and increases your audience. Word-of-mouth is an extremely powerful tool, not just with more popular celebrity names, but many people trust the opinions of the people they’re most close with.
Encourage customers to talk about your brand. This can be through a clever “guerrilla marketing” campaign that creates discussion about your brand, or through something a little more simple like referral bonuses or discounts for friends and family.
Acquiring new customers is costly
Obtaining new customers is more expensive than retaining your current customers that are already investing in your brand. Harvard Business Review states, “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
Retaining customers, on average, provides a much more beneficial ratio for businesses, and continues to exceed as the highest revenue driver for businesses above acquisition, product innovation and paid promotion.
In addition, retaining customers can not only help decrease costs but can help increase your bottom line substantially.
From the same article, “increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%,” shows a very positive ratio for many businesses. Ensuring you are building the proper customer relationships can save your business money, and in the long run, increase sales by a considerable amount.
It’s becoming crucial to building an engaged and supportive consumer base, founded on communication and a mutually beneficial relationship. Here are a few ways you can ensure the relationship is valuable to your customers:
- Offer informational livestreams that cover Q&As with employees.
- Provide sneak peaks on sales or new products.
- Offer insight into your business plans and how it will impact customers.
Keeping a constant flow of communication to your customers will ensure you’re providing them with the best possible service.
Many customers enjoy engaging with a brand and creating a lasting relationship. By making the experience simple for customers to engage, you’ll foster the type of connection that all businesses strive for.
What are the Key Components of a Business Relationship?
Effective relationship marketing requires careful planning and implementation. Like all strategy implementation, you need to align the right technologies, processes…and people.
1. People Strategy
Make sure you have a clear relationship marketing strategy that reflects and supports your business strategy, and the right marketing team to deliver it.
A highly effective strategy will achieve security, business intelligence and efficiency. The relationship marketing approach needs to be long term. There can be a ‘churn and burn’ culture in marketing and business development teams, and not the longevity needed to nurture the connections.
Relationships are made and may end quickly when staff leaves. You need to invest in the resources and roles that support relationship growth, and put systems in place that capture insights when people do exit the firm. It is worth paying for the right level of resource: someone who really understands the firm’s long-term strategy and sees the big picture; someone who adapts as required to the insights that today’s marketing technology can generate thanks to more accurate reporting and measurement.
The right people, with the right technology and approach, can help reposition your marketing team from being seen as “the people who can organize a good party” into people who truly add value to the organization.
2. Know Your Customer
Get to really know, understand and value your customers. Build up a picture.
Firms hold huge quantities of customer data. Data from regular CRM activity, content management, financial records, responses to marketing campaigns, marketing metrics, sales records and even client feedback. Keeping it all in one place builds up a persona for that individual and the organization. It reflects the full customer life cycle and their value to the firm.
It also provides essential business intelligence and the opportunity to analyze customer data that will give you the insights to make decisions on the next best action to take. If this seems complicated, find a technology partner who are willing and able to help you achieve this.
These long-term insights will tell you how that client wants to interact with you. You may not hear from them for some time, and in the interim, you still need to make sure that the dialog is maintained so that when they are ready to come back for additional work, they come straight to you. The strength of the relationship lies in being carefully nurtured across the entirety of that relationship.
Communicate regularly, in a tailored way, with the content you know your customers want to receive (because you’ve built their profile and listened to their feedback).
Communicate frequently and appropriately. Build in that two-way communication and encourage feedback. It is hard to get in front of people face-to-face but this is where digital marketing techniques come in:
- Implement nurturing programs around particular topics and areas of interest that people will want to to sign up for without being asked
- Develop insights, advice and thinking that are useful and relevant to your clients
- Tailor your products and services to your clients because you listen to them and understand their needs.
- Reward your clients for their loyalty. It could be a special client offering or an enhancement to the customer service offering or access to privileged content.
Your cloud-based relationship marketing technology should make it quick and easy for you to deliver the digital content your clients want, on the device they want, when they want it. It should help you capture their preferences, give you deep analytical insights and understand their behaviors at a glance. It should make communication and tracking engagement simple.
But if you really want to build great client relationships remember that people do business with people – not technology – so having the team you need to connect with your clients should be your starting point.
Why are Relationships Important to Success?
There are a lot of factors that are vital for your career or business success. But, building relationships can significantly expand your network, bringing in more opportunities for you and your business.
Let’s take a look at why building relationships is important to your success as a business or career woman.
Pleasant work environment
Naturally, humans are social beings. Wherever you are in life, you must have communal skills to communicate and interact with people. Most especially if you’re a full-time employee, you probably spend more time with your colleagues than family.
It is very essential to build a healthy relationship with them to maintain harmony. When you have good relationships with your co-workers, you’re more likely to be more productive at work, and eventually, become more successful.
Career advancement or business growth
Building relationships and a good network help you find better and improved work opportunities. When you are on good terms with quite a lot of people in the same industry, it can open doors for you in the future. Hence, build positive and trustable connections with your peers to increase your productivity and efficiency.
As a woman entrepreneur, building relationships with your customers or clients will make their faith in you more well-founded, and this will result in increased sales and business growth. If you can focus on building relationships rather than making sales, you will have a valuable and successful business in the long run.
Learn and let learn
Building strong, friendly relationships with coworkers may be beneficial to both your personal and professional life.
When a group of people works together in a healthy environment, they manage to learn from themselves. You’re able to learn new skills and even develop the ones you have.
If you have a good relationship with a teammate that has some worthy skills, you likely learn from them. Similarly, you can also share your knowledge and expertise with your coworkers so that they can learn from you.
At the end of the day, you all acquire some innovative thinking that may help you grow professionally.
Study shows, working in a stressful environment causes mental and physical health issues. Besides this, it decreases employees’ efficiency and productivity as well.
Therefore, a workplace environment plays a very crucial role in the output of the company. Maintaining healthy relationships with your co-workers can help improve your health and also make you more creative.
In 2012, Basford and Offermann found out that building relationships with your bosses and subordinates escalates a sense of motivation.
Higher motivations lead to more enthusiasm among workers improving their performance ultimately giving better outcomes for themselves and the business.
Positivity and optimism
A healthy network brings about positivity and optimism in a person. These two traits are particularly advantageous for business owner or employee to get more creative and think out of the box.
A good relationship with your team members promotes positivity and optimism in the workplace. This leads to higher productivity and decreased stress, which also results to job satisfaction, and overall business or career success.
Concisely, building and sustaining good interpersonal relationships will not only make you progress your career but also make you more involved with your job, and promote teamwork as a whole.
How do you Nurture Business Relationships?
Building real and mutually beneficial business relationships requires consistent and dedicated work over time. In order to build a great community around our brand, you have to put others first and establish ourselves as listeners and helpers.
If you dedicate enough time to building and nurturing a community, it will be there for you when you need it. When done right, our community will be excited to return the support and kindness.
1. Build a Community
Do not focus only on nurturing relationships with your prospects and customers, but expand into to other groups of relationships. These groups might differ based on the type of our business and our goals. They can include our employees, business partners, investors, suppliers, resellers, editors, analysts, bloggers, influencers, strategic partners, third-party developers, advisors, etc.
Maintaining strategic business relationships can help raise brand awareness, build an engaged community around your brand, drive word-of-mouth referrals, and more traffic to your website and drive sales.
2. Identify The Right People
Who are the individuals you should focus on and where to find them?
You should first figure out what our goals are and what you are trying to accomplish. A good start can be to focus on the people that already exist around our brand.
Then expand it out to those that can help you reach your goals. Industry influencers and bloggers are a great group to focus on as they have already built engaged communities around them who trust their opinions.
Social media is great for prospecting and networking. My personal favorite is Twitter. The main reason is that it is very easy to start conversations on this platform. Without having to even follow anybody, I can engage in conversations with people from anywhere in the world.
Twitter also has an amazing feature called Lists which are great for filtering the contacts we want to focus on from the rest. Another great way to use Twitter Lists is for identifying who to connect with by subscribing to other people’s lists.
3. Do Research. Take Notice. Start Conversations
The best way to get someone’s attention is to notice something about them. Most business professionals have some kind of social presence or curate and/or create content. Most professionals today also have a LinkedIn profile.
Pay attention to what people are talking about on social media, what they are liking and sharing, and what they are excited and passionate about can open doors to starting a conversation. When reaching out, you should make it all about the person and be genuinely interested in them.
4. Jump On A Discovery Call And Learn More About Each Other
Brynne Tillman, a LinkedIn Trainer, and Social Selling Coach makes networking a priority and asks 20 connections a day to meet for a call and makes 10-12 calls each week. She prepares for her calls and makes it a point to provide great insights, information, and resources to prove that she can be of value to them and make their time worthwhile.
Even if many of these calls don’t lead to an immediate business result, it is a great way to learn more about each other and our companies.
5. Offer Help. Give And Expect Nothing In Return
While on the call, you should aim to establish yourself as a listener and helper. You could offer to make introductions, offer help with spreading the word about the person’s company and services, you could review their latest book or review their product on a review site. It can be small but even small things can go a long way.
6. Follow-up And Keep Your Promises
You should never underestimate the importance of the follow-up. Following up with people on what you have promised and actually doing it can make or break the relationship you have just established.
Sending a quick follow-up email after the call should be a standard thing. In this email, it is polite to thank them for their time and reinstate what you agreed on doing. The next step is to keep our promise. This can be tricky given the number of things you have to get done on daily basis.
7. Stay In Touch And Nurture Relationships Over Time
Business relationships won`t grow unless they are nurtured. This can be done in the form of keeping an eye on what our connections are sharing and liking on LinkedIn or other social platforms.
Commenting on a few statuses, answering a few questions, and commenting on people’s promotions or other life events does not take too much of our time and can really help with strengthening the relationship. It’s always good to connect with people in multiple places as each social platform is different and offers different opportunities to deepen relationships.
Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble CRM says the following:
“LinkedIn is like going into the lobby of your business contact. Twitter is more like going for a walk or taking them to lunch or a ballgame. Facebook is like having dinner in their home. All are great ways to connect. You need at least two of them to be effective. If I was restricted to one I’d choose Twitter. It’s the most relevantly natural way to authentically connect in a human personal way.” [Forbes]
8. Reach Out When The Time is Right
Jill Rowley, Speaker, and Social Selling Evangelist says that the ABC in sales no longer stands for “Always Be Closing” but for “Always Be Connecting”.
If you make networking and nurturing our network a priority, be consistent in it and establish ourselves as helpers, connectors and trusted advisors among our community, you will learn that once you need help with something, there will be an army of people willing to help us.
Exploring healthy relationship in your business growth will help you to have customers that will continue to remain loyal to your brand. You will also experience an increase because satisfied customers will not hesitate to refer your company to other people. If you run a small business, it is important to handle your customers correctly. You can easily build a lasting relationship if you follow the tips in this article.