Long-term business relationships
April 27, 2012
Why are long-term business relationships so vital?
It may seem small or simple, but there is something to be said about long-term business relationships when it comes to running your company successfully. It is true that long-term business relationships can be easily overlooked and we often favour the details of the products and services instead. However, in the long run, we cannot afford to overlook this side of the business.
On the most basic level, it is necessary for you to form strong client relationships for your business. However, you also need to have well-formed, long-term business relationships with your employees, vendors and, while it may surprise you, your competitors. It is your clients, employees and vendors that will carry you and your business through the tough times. Furthering this, it is advised that you foster business relationships with your competitors to share resources, tips and practices – all of which can only serve to build your knowledge base and consequently strengthen your business.
Fostering and building long-term business relationships is no different to other long-term relationships – it can be equally as time consuming and expensive (rather than dinner dates you’re dishing out for advertising!), but it can be equally as rewarding!
Here are our best tips for achieving long-term business relationships:
- Encourage feedback: by encouraging constructive feedback from the people within your business relationships (clients, employees, vendors and competition), you will know how you are performing. Marketer Patrick Scullin says, “If you know where you stand, you stand stronger.” Look at our client audits page for more information.
- Listen, don’t just talk: people want to be heard! Listening rather than speaking will show you’re prepared to take the time to understand – behaviour that will keep clients coming back and lead to referrals.
- Keep in touch: formulate a daily routine for keeping in touch with your business relationships. Devise a plan to ensure not too much time passes without being in contact with these important people. Develop a Customer Relationship marketing program to remain front of mind with all your key stakeholders and business relationships.
- Be honest: even if you don’t know the answer to something, be upfront and simply say you don’t know (and then offer to find out the answer!). People really appreciate honesty, and that it is a vital foundation to form a strong, long-term business relationship.
Don’t make your business strategy all about the sale at hand – if you want your business to survive for the long-term, you need to be in for the long-term…business relationship-wise that is. Don’t learn the hard way. It is these long-term business relationships that will keep your business strong and successful through the good and the bad times.