It’s no secret that one of the keys to building a successful business is developing successful business relationships. While most companies focus the majority of their efforts on developing “the product”, Business Development is a fundamental element that will keep any cooperation afloat. Building great business relationships can be hard, and maintaining them can be even harder. Regardless, it is important to get your company’s name out there and never stop adding contacts to your list of connections. In order to help you jumpstart your Business Development strategy, we’ve put together a list of the 3 most important tips for building successful business relationships.
1. YOUR PITCH
When meeting new people, nothing is more important than having your elevator pitch down. Initial encounters are often your first and last chance to make a lasting impact, especially if you’re meeting new people at a conference or a large gathering. While your elevator pitch should be clear and to the point, you want to make sure that the message your relaying is engaging and intriguing. Keep in mind that the point of an elevator pitch isn’t just to give a few details about your company, but rather to make sure that the person on the receiving end is interested enough to want to follow-up and get some business going once you’ve wrapped up your initial meeting.
One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding “The Elevator Pitch” is that the same few lines can be used on everyone. While in theory, your elevator pitch should stay somewhat consistent no matter who you’re speaking; in reality, it’s not likely that you’ll be meeting with the same types of people day after day, meeting after meeting. When meeting new people it’s important that you understand who the person is, what their company does and where the synergy is between both of your businesses so that when you give your elevator pitch, you’ve adapted those few lines to best suit the individual you’re speaking with. In order to establish a great business relationship, both parties must have mutual willingness to cooperate. You’ll be required to invest a lot of time and energy into building the partnership, but the best way to lay some solid groundwork for a successful, long term business relationship typically starts with a convincing elevator pitch.
2. COMMUNICATION IS KEY
A successful business relationship is the same as a happy marriage, and any couple who’ve stuck things out for the long haul will probably chalk their relationship up to good communication. This tip could not be more pivotal in establishing a successful, long term business relationship―be transparent, lay your cards on the table and keep the lines of communication open. Once you’ve shook hands and signed contracts the real work begins and it’s extremely important that both parties are on the same page. Be sure to use different tools and apps to make yourself easily reachable, and most importantly, be responsive. Upon receiving an email from a client or business partner the first and natural action should be to respond to their request. Whether the matter is urgent or can be handled later, it is important to inform the other side about the course of action you plan to take and the estimated time frame in which the task is expected to be completed.
Never assume that the other side knows what your thinking or what your planning. If you’re working on an important project or are under a tight deadline, schedule calls or Skype sessions with the other people involved so you can all keep each other up to date. While communicating with your business partners and clients certainly helps get the job done faster and more efficiently, it also helps to build deeper relationships. After a few weeks of back and forth emailing and Tuesday morning status calls you’ll probably find yourselves exchanging anecdotes and getting to know your new business contact on a more personal level. Essentially, building a new business relationship is the same as starting a new friendship, only it’s advisable that you refrain from discussing religious views or R rated details from last nights date.
3. SCHEDULING MEETINGS
Nothing solidifies a business relationship better than a face-to-face meeting. So much of our day-to-day communicating happens online, and that can certainly take its toll on a relationship’s growth. In today’s digital age, doing business worldwide has never been easier. So many of our business partners and clients are spread out around the globe, which means that you could easily be working with an individual that you’ve never even met in person. This is why meetings are so important in building a successful business relationship. Meeting with your business partner or client will allow you to take your relationship to the next level and establish a more personal connection. In the long run, business associates who have met for coffee, or shared a few drinks will always have a leg up when it comes to resolving urgent matters and getting the job done. When the opportunity presents itself to meet with your clients, take it! You’ll be thankful you did.