Over the course of my career in client relations, I have often been told, “I could never do your job.” My response is always the same, “Yes you could. As long as you like working with all different types of people.” After further discussions about this, I have come to the conclusion that what comes natural to me (and many others in this business), can be very difficult for some. And I think a big reason is that most people tend to differentiate between personal relationships and business relationships. The reality is that business/client relationships are just like any other relationship: They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share, support and above all – TRUST the other person or group.
Below are a few essential keys to building and nurturing healthy relationships in business:
- Be Honest. People respond to honesty. In a world where people are often faced with scams and lies, honesty is more valuable than ever. When honesty is the foundation, the relationships you form will be strong and powerful.
- Take a genuine interest in those you have relationships with. Don’t just serve up generic compliments from time to time. Ask questions. Taking an interest and remembering seemingly small, personal details lets a person know that he or she is a priority to you.
- Recognize accomplishments. Let people know that you notice their good work, long hours, or commitment to quality. Everyone likes to be noticed, recognized and appreciated. It fosters camaraderie when you give someone a well-deserved compliment.
- Apologize. If you’re wrong about something or commit a gaffe that offends or hurts someone, admit it. Everyone makes mistakes, but people will (and especially your clients) will respect you more if you admit your mistakes and apologize. This goes a long way in building respect.
- Stay in touch. Relationships require frequent exchanges. In our world today, we have many options to communicate and improve our relationships. Face to face is always the best. Enjoy coffee, lunch, or just stop in the office for a chat. Not only are you communicating, but you’re also fully devoting your time to the other person – and the goals of your relationship.
I have always believed that the BEST thing you can do to grow and prosper in your field is building and keeping great relationships between both your clients and your coworkers. Why is this so important? Because, a sale is just that: a single, one-time event. But, when you develop strong professional relationships, the opportunities for your business grow exponentially.