Your professional life brings you into contact with people from different walks of life as clients, colleagues, bosses, or customers. A few of them will also become friends, allies, and mentors.
Professional relationships are the foundation of new opportunities in the business world, especially when you start your own business or rise through the ranks. The effort you make to build rapport and develop healthy professional relationships pays off when you position yourself as a dependable person and as someone who will help out when others run into difficulties. Moreover, people prefer to associate and work with people they like and get along with. Nobody wants a boss or a colleague whose opinions are poles apart and who turns every conversation into a battle.
The prospect of new opportunities depends on your relationships with others in the business world. You stand a better chance of getting the new contract, project, or client if you have taken the time to build rapport and become dependable. The more solid the foundation of your business relationships, the fewer chances of you being without a client, job, or business.
As an exit planning advisor, you will meet many people through your contacts or at social networking events, but whether they choose to associate with you or do business with you depends entirely on how you manage your relationships with them.
Related: 3 Keys to Success as an Advisor.
Why Build Relationships?
If time is money, then the business is people.
As an exit planning advisor, the more you invest in building relationships, the stronger your foothold will be in acquiring new clients. You are more likely to get referrals and repeat business with a roster of contacts from which to draw. And as your network grows, so will your practice. Past clients with excellent rapport can help you acquire new clients by just offering an introduction. Since they have already been associated with you, the new acquaintances will consider their recommendations for your services.
But just building relationships is not enough; you must also maintain those relationships. To maintain healthy business relationships:
- Express your appreciation. Being appreciative of others boosts their confidence in themselves, which increases their productivity. This is also a good way of building rapport with new people.
- Communicate clearly: Miscommunication often results in drastic and unwanted outcomes. So, say what you want, repeat, and clarify multiple times if you think the message hasn’t been understood completely.
- Set goals with realistic deadlines. Don’t rush yourself by creating unrealistic goals and deadlines. Sometimes business realities don’t meet one’s expectations. Unreasonable goals not only make you overwhelmed, but others around you will also feel pressured. Instead, focus on setting smaller, achievable milestones for your goals.
How Relationships Help You
Building a good business relationship is not as mysterious and complicated as one might feel. The traits and values that serve you best in your personal life also serve you best in business. Genuine humility, concern for others, and being accessible will help you more professionally than intimidating double talk and a slick sales persona.
By being someone whom others would like to know, you will never feel the need to inflate your value. Likewise, good relationships are beneficial for both parties, as both stands to gain something. You will have trusted people in your network to whom to refer your clients, and other people (old associates, clients, business contacts) will also refer them to you.
So, when you create real value for others through your services and have a unique offering as a company, everything else eventually falls into place. Once good terms have been established between two parties, keeping the lines of communication open at all times is the most critical consideration.
Tips for Building Good Relationships
Identify how you can provide additional value. Without building connections and engaging with others, one cannot succeed in the business world. To build authentic relationships, learn how you add value with your time, resources, business contacts, and professional expertise.
Focus on customer relations and service. Your number one strategy for growth and building relationships is customer service. People might not remember what you said to them, but they will never forget their feelings after meeting you. So, sharpen your customer service skills and ensure that every interaction is fruitful and leaves a positive lasting impression. You are your brand ambassador, so how your customers feel after meeting you will either build the brand value or diminish it.
Make your client’s success your own. When working for a client, always treat their successes and failures as your own: no one wants to work with a fair-weather friend. Be with them through thick and thin. The best business relationships are built through trust and mutual success.
Build trust and credibility. Successful relationships are based on trust and credibility, so treat your client’s projects as your own. Associate their successes and failures with yours and always do your best for them. Be committed to your client’s success. This way, you will build their trust in your services and you.
Always put your clients first. Put your client’s needs first to become their trusted, indispensable, go-to person during a crisis. Your clients will remember what you did for them and how you helped them. Putting your clients’ best interests first pays off in terms of new engagements, renewed contracts, and new business opportunities.
Grow with Strong Relationships
All relationships involve give and take, so be willing and ready to reciprocate. If you are not there for your clients, you may lose them; and even if they stay with you, they will be less likely to help you or refer anyone from their circle to you.
There may be times when your business might not benefit from a relationship. When that happens, remember that all clients are alike, and sometimes a business relationship might not deliver the outcome that you expected. Regardless, stay true to your values and serve that client in the best possible manner.
Finally, remember the Golden Rule: treat others how you want to be treated. Successful business relationships are based on frequent exchange of ideas, feedback, and detailed conversations that provide valuable insights into what each person is looking for and how to fulfill those expectations.