Charting My Course

Working with professional service providers and small business owners who want to do a better job
marketing themselves and their services.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Building Better Business Relationships

How strong are your relationships with your prospects, current customers, and previous customers? It is crucial to your business that you develop strong, long lasting relationships. I have listed six ways you can start developing those relationships.

1. Be a giver. Always look for a way to be of service to others. This is probably the most important step in building strong relationships. Most people adhere to the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) principle. When you are talking to someone at a networking event, their main interest is usually in what can you do for them. They simply want to know how what you do fits into their business or their life. They do not want to listen to you go on and on about how great you are.
2. Make the decision to like people. This is sometimes difficult because we meet people whom for whatever reason, we just don’t want to be around. There is not always justification for this. It is just a fact of life that we will get along with some people more than others. Either way, we can still make the decision and make the effort to like everyone.
3. Cultivate the art of listening. When making a sales call, the person making the sale should only speak 30% of the time while the person on the receiving end speaks 70% of the time. We get impatient in today’s multi-tasking, fast-paced world. This includes when we are listening to someone. Be considerate and give the person speaking a few minutes of your time and actively listen to what they are saying without thinking about the brilliant response you will have when they finish talking. Be interesting and be interested.
4. Find places you can go or events you can attend that will provide you with an ongoing list of people to call and follow-up with. Be careful how you spend your time. Some networking events are very serious about helping their fellow small business owners and growing their own business. Others are nothing more than social events. Nothing wrong with either of these. Both events provide the foundation for building the relationships we need in our businesses and in our life.
5. Develop a system for following-up with your prospects and clients. This is where most people miss so many great opportunities and cash. They go to networking events, collect business cards, and then the cards just sit on their desk or in a drawer with no action taken to follow-up.
6. Be flexible and be patient. Try to accommodate the other person when possible.

What one thing can you do today to make contact with someone? Put strategies in place to make it easy for you to make consistent contact with prospects and customers. Find events, associations, chambers of commerce, and other places where you enjoy the people and can get the contacts you need to grow your business. Look for opportunities to help others. Cultivate your circle of influence. Nurture your relationships. It does require some work on your part but your efforts will be rewarded. Above all, have fun and enjoy the process.


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