Relationships are everything in business. Without positive connections with colleagues, customers and suppliers most small businesses simply will not thrive, never mind survive. Here, we’ve compiled a round-up of quick tips to help you manage those business relationships for a happier, more productive workplace and a blooming business.
1. Say thank you often
It’s important that those working with you or offering your business a service are acknowledged and thanked for their time. This could be the person who sorted out a broadband issue at the other end of the phone or the copywriter you’ve hired to write some blog posts for the site.
Matt O’Connor of Conversion Gods notes that a verbal acknowledgement is also better received – so pick up the phone if you’re particularly pleased with their efforts. Saying thank you keeps people happy, makes them feel like a part of something bigger and more inclined to help you in the future if you’re in a pinch or need support on some work.
2. Meet face-to-face
A phone call or quick email exchange is great but nothing builds relationships better than a face-to-face meeting. Schedule time in regularly to meet with those you maintain business relationships with and go over and above to keep them entertained – perhaps paying for lunch or driving to see them if they are based far away. A face-to-face meeting is considered the better choice over email or even phone but if you really can’t meet that contact in person using a service such as Skype or Google Hangouts and having a video call is a good compromise.
3. Acknowledge all communication
It takes two seconds to fire back a thank you or to say you’ve received something via email – don’t ignore any communication from those you do business with, even if there’s nothing you necessarily need to do straight away. Of course, you should always be professional and courteous when using email but get the basics right and you should have no trouble.
4. Learn more about them
Don’t be afraid to ask generic but personal questions – the more familiar you are with those you do business with the better a relationship can be. Ask them how the kids are, what they’re doing at the weekend and don’t be afraid to show a little bit of your personality too. While you may want their business if it’s a client, it pays to be a little more human.
5. Find solutions, don’t ignore problems
Things go wrong but it’s important you act fast instead of burying your head. Problems that are left to fester don’t breed good relationships. Let them know you’re working on rectifying what has gone wrong, decide on what to do then act – this will reassure those you have business relationships with that you can fix problems, boosting their confidence in you.
Next time you’re thinking about your business relationships, take on these tips to ensure they’re well maintained and everyone remains happy. They may have their ups and downs but you should have no problem getting them back on track if you follow this advice.