This time of year our thoughts turn to love, romance and the special relationships in our lives. For many of us, our business relationships are not included in these musings. We’re here to tell you, they should be.
In our line of work, our ideal client is long-term and as committed to our relationship as we are. That doesn’t happen overnight. Just as in our personal relationships, building trust and strengthening connections takes effort.
Key Components to Relationship Building
1) Be upfront about your desire for more than a one-night stand (or in the case of business, a one-time project/purchase).
Morrissey Hospitality Companies selected our firm because we let it be known that a relationship and partnership were a big part of the deal. The first page of our proposal made that very clear. They had also witnessed our long-term commitment to the growth of businesses and organizations throughout the City of Saint Paul.
At the start of all new relationships, we strive to understand our clients from the inside out. We then keep their primary purpose top of mind when assessing all opportunities to express their brand. Just like all relationships, the foundation of trust and collaboration we build allows us to work together through good times and bad, finding the best solutions for them and their organization.
“At the heart of it, I believe every successful long term relationship should be collaborative, enriching and fun.”
– Justin M. Bieganek
2) Listen more. Talk less.
This is one that we all need to do more of. At Mercury, we love to be problem solvers for our clients. Because of that, we have to fight the urge to jump in and offer solutions as soon as possible. We have learned that it is surprising what you can uncover by holding your tongue a bit longer. Not only will you be better able to elucidate the challenges your client is facing, you will also pick up some relationship-building clues.
We used one such clue to start a long-term client relationship. Waiting on a response from a local convention and visitors bureau, we decided to take action. We sent a compelling photo featuring the Executive Director’s favorite sweet treat. We won that project and have been working together ever since.
3) Keep your word.
Nothing damages a relationship more than unkept promises. When you say you will deliver – do it. If you absolutely cannot, communicate the reasons to your client. We are all human and understand that things outside of our control can hinder our performance. Being upfront and honest with clients can take a bite out of what may have been a big disappointment to them.
Five Reasons that Business Relationships Really Matter
- 65 percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers.
- Improving customer retention rates by 5 percent can increase profits by as much as 95 percent.
- It costs 5 times more to find a new customer than to keep an existing one.
- 61 percent of customers take their business to a competitor when they end a business relationship.
- The average business loses around 20 percent of its customers annually by failing to attend to customer relationships.