Research shows that even with the best products and business practices, you still need strong relationships to succeed in business. KIRSTY O’CALLAGHAN explains how to identify and build those relationships to grow and sustain your success.
It is vital to form supporting relationships as your business grows and your responsibilities increase. Therefore, your relationships with customers, suppliers, competitors, industry leaders, financiers and professional advisers should also grow, providing a solid foundation for you and your business to thrive.
Encourage honest feedback A good relationship needs clear communications of how each party is performing. Encourage constructive criticism and be brave enough to suggest ways clients can help your business perform better.
Listen more than you talk All business women need to tell others about the strengths, features and benefits of their business to ultimately attract more business, however, it can be counterproductive. Being a good listener highlights your qualities much better than being a big talker. Taking the time to listen to your clients and colleagues and really understand where they are coming from can set you apart from your competitors. Being known as a good listener is the kind of behaviour that leads to referrals and long-term business success.
Make a routine Devise a system, such as a formal database, to ensure you regularly connect with your contacts. With the explosion of social media tools it has never been easier to keep in touch. Most of your contacts are the people you don’t know well but who may become clients or alliances in the future. It is worthwhile connecting with them because they may benefit from knowing about you and your business. If you have spoken briefly to someone at a conference or a networking event, have a follow up routine in place. For example, email or phone them to ask them if they would be interested in connecting with you to get to know each other better and find out how you can help and support one another.
Be trustworthy and build trusting relationships Trust is built on a foundation of honesty, genuineness and a feeling of rapport and synergy resulting from frequently working together with someone and having had many positive interactions. The most valuable business deals are often made through trusted relationships. These relationships can take work and time to establish, but they are worth it because they frequently create huge opportunities and have enormous long-term impacts on businesses.
Be prepared to create relationships for your success, work hard, show up and when you fail, learn and keep moving forward.