WNA Blog

Mon 1 Jul 2024

How to Build and Maintain Business Relationships


In The News

You can argue that operating a business can boil down to just building and maintaining relationships. Whether it’s with your clients, suppliers, investors or simply people you look to for advice or support, the people we know are vital. It’s impossible to succeed alone, and relationship-building is a skill everyone should work to develop. So when you’re building up a business as an entrepreneur or even managing a department in an enterprise of any size, it’s important to build connections with people along the way. 

In this article, we’ll discuss four effective strategies on how to build lasting relationships in professional contexts. These methods can make networking feel infinitely more natural, allowing you to gather business contacts that could potentially be with you and building over the long haul. Because underlining all these methods is this empathetic disclaimer: no matter which professional environments you inhabit, you’ll always be dealing with real-life human beings. Our first tip is that it’s important to see people as people, and not as a means to an end. 

Without further ado, here are our top tried and tested ways to build and maintain business relationships over the long term. 

1. Corporate Gifts

It goes without saying that people like free stuff. That’s why the giving of promotional gifts is one of the most common ways to build and maintain business relationships. 

The great thing about corporate gifts is their flexibility. You can tailor them to the specific person you’re giving them to. And the key to improving your corporate gifts is understanding their recipients, and to do this, you need to have conversations with them and get to know them on a personal level. For instance, some people might appreciate a bouquet of flowers on a special occasion, while others might want a calendar they can hang on their walls. 

Whatever you present to them, just make sure your company logo or at least your business card is attached.  That way, they’ll know exactly where they can reach you to thank you and continue your conversations.

2. Position Yourself As An Expert

Any genuine business relationship is a two-way street. Building contacts isn’t just about figuring out how the other person can help you, but about providing some sort of benefit to them. 

One way to be a more attractive connection to other people is to position yourself as an expert in your field. People should be able to come to you for specific advice. When they do this, it becomes easier to build a mutually beneficial relationship with them.

The digital nature of the world makes it easier to demonstrate your expertise. One of the most common ways to do this is to run a blog and write articles with the intent of providing information – not to sell. Doing so can help position your brand as a voice of authority, growing consumer trust and increasing the chances of customers who are shopping around to decide to do business with you over your competitors.

There are other methods for positioning yourself as an expert too. For instance, you can also start an email newsletter and create a readership in this way, or even become more active on LinkedIn or in your local community to maintain approachability and accessibility alongside being a conversation starter. Take advantage of opportunities to provide value for people, as this will create avenues for you to connect with those you help. 

3. Maintain Your Website

In the digital age, your website is the face of your business. Looking you up on the internet is the easiest way for potential business contacts to learn more about you and your company, so you’ll naturally want to put your best foot forward.

Your website needs to include everything someone needs to know about your company. Include a list of your products and services and a brief history of your company. Your brand’s distinct elements should be evident everywhere on your site.

Besides information on your company, you should also include a page profiling the members of your team. A key to building and maintaining business relationships is humanising yourself, and it’s important that visitors to your site can put a human face to your business. 

You also want to think about the user experience of your site. You might have informative pages with beautiful copy, but if these pages take too long to load, a visitor to your site might leave before even seeing them. 

4. Reach Out

The most basic, and crucial, way to create and strengthen corporate bonds is simply to reach out to people. You can do this during business or networking events by just walking up to people and starting a conversation. This can also be done through social media platforms like LinkedIn, which helps you build relationships with mutual connections that you’re yet to formally meet. 

And remember – once you’ve already established relationships, you’ll need to maintain them. Give your business contacts a call every now and then just to catch up. Remember occasions like birthdays and anniversaries: people really appreciate receiving little gifts and greetings. And more often than not, thoughtfulness and empathy can be the key to successful networking.

In some cases, it might also be worthwhile to take your relationships outside of work. Corporate friends can be personal friends, too, and knowing people personally often helps us work more effectively with them.

However, it’s still important to draw a distinction between work and personal life. While it’s perfectly okay to be friends with your business contacts and go out with them for drinks or hang out outside of work, it’s crucial to maintain a professional relationship during work hours. Never show favouritism, and ensure that your business relationships are beneficial to all parties’ bottom line. 

~

In business, just like in life, building and maintaining relationships is crucial. It’s a skill that anyone can pick up, and there are specific strategies you can use to create meaningful connections. In this article, we’ve just gone through four of the most effective of these. 

If you haven’t already, now is as good a time as any to incorporate these tips into your professional life. You’ll find that they’ll help you develop higher-quality relationships in the business world and help you achieve your goals.


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