What’s the key to success as a business? Would you be surprised to learn that it’s building and maintaining great relationships? The better you connect with and relate to your customers and vendors, the more likely they are to want to work with you in the future. In the case of customers, having a strong relationship can be the difference between getting a number of referrals and not getting any referrals.
Here’s what your company can do to establish better relationships with vendors and customers alike.
Remember that Relationships are about Give and Take (but Mostly Give)
Everyone has a friend or acquaintance who only seems to come out of the woodwork when he or she needs something. Think about how you feel when your friend only ever gets in touch with you to ask for help, money or some other sort of favor. That feeling can also occur in business relationships. Your vendors might feel a little unappreciated if they only ever hear from you when you need something done ASAP or when you’re looking to make an order with a fast delivery date. The same is true of customers. If you’re only reaching out to them when you think they might have some business to offer, they are likely to start looking to other companies to do business with.
Think about what your business is giving your customers and vendors and remember that there’s a person behind the client. It’s also important to remember that your contact with your customers or vendors doesn’t always have to be about your company. There might be times when you see a product that would be particularly helpful for your vendor or when you see a service that you know your customer would benefit from. Reaching out with recommendations and ideas, even if your company doesn’t directly benefit from those ideas, will help you establish a great connection.
Keep Communication Open
Maintaining real communication with people is an essential part of maintaining relationships. In the era of social media, it can be all too easy to blur the lines of what real communication is. Sending out tweets or updating a Facebook status usually don’t count as keeping in touch. To keep the lines of communication open, send out personal messages when it’s appropriate. For example, if you haven’t heard from a client in a while, you can reach out and see if he or she is up for a meeting or just send a message to check in. If you’re going to be in the same area as a vendor or client, reach out and see if you can meet up for coffee or dinner, even if you don’t have any direct business planned.
Get a Little Personal
People like to talk about themselves and they are more likely to appreciate the business that goes out of its way to dig a bit deeper into their personal lives. If a client or vendor mentions something personal to you during a meeting, such as an upcoming vacation, a child’s piano recital or a new family pet, follow up with him or her about it the next time you meet. A casual “how was your trip?” or “what did you decide to call your dog?” might not seem like much, but it can go a long way. A vendor or client is going to be more likely to remember the company that cared and is going to be more likely to want to continue to work with that company.
It’s easy to see through the executive who is just being friendly to drum up business. When you interact with others during your day to day, don’t feel that you need to plaster on a facade of perfection or that you need to keep things “professional.” Cracking a joke from time to time (when appropriate) and admitting when you’re wrong or don’t have the answer can make a better impression than always being perfect.
New Direction Capital takes a personal approach when it comes to providing virtual CFO services to its clients. We’re committed to establishing long-term relationships with those we work with. To learn more about our services and how we can help your business grow, contact us today.
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