Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

May 20, 2008

Two Keys to Building Strong Business Relationships

Man has walked on the moon, can communicate with someone the other side of the world while strolling along a busy road and many more technological marvels. Less than a hundred years ago these things would have been considered inconceivable if not impossible. Yet despite all this progress we have not yet learned that basic and most important skill, how to live together peacefully in stable human relationships!

We hear a lot about relationships in the media, particularly about some prominent personality who is in a relationship with some other prominent personality, they are ‘an item’. Very often we read or hear not too long afterwards that they are no longer in a relationship with that person but with someone new. So relationships like this do not last.

What, you might ask, has this to do with business? Well, a great deal if we want to have a business that will survive! We can have the most up-to-date equipment available and state-of-the-art expertise, but if we cannot forge enduring relationships with our clients we will not be successful.

There is an old saying that ‘The customer is always right’. This old saw has a measure of truth in it that can help us to understand how to forge lasting relationships with our clients and a successful business.

There are two elements to consider in building stable relationships with our clients and these are:

  • You will need to know your client and their needs very well.
  • You must provide a satisfactory service for your client – providing, of course, that they are worth it. (Don’t devalue your service by giving it away to the ungrateful!)

Let’s consider first the requirement to know your client and his needs.

Too often in business we tend to ‘sell’ our own ideas. These will be very good in themselves as far as we are concerned but may not allow for the needs of our prospective client. Often this comes about because we fail to listen to what the client has to say and this in itself is going to be one reason why we are not successful. How often have you had the experience of having a sales representative giving you the ‘hard sell’, ignoring any comments you want to make! In fact often they brush aside your comments as though they are unimportant. You will have no desire to repeat the experience either!

Therefore to learn what the client wants so we can provide the appropriate service we need to listen to what that person has to say. They must feel that you are genuinely interested and want to provide a service that will meet their requirements. Obviously you will need to continue to listen as you implement your solution so your client feels that you are considering their requirements whenever possible.

Once such a relationship has been established, there is another aspect to consider and that is that your client’s needs are going to change! It is true in modern business that no successful business can afford to stand still. The truthfulness of this can be seen in the huge sums expended by many large organizations on market research, just to keep in step with the changing character of the market place.

The second element in forging stable relationships is obviously the service that you provide. Much of what has been said above influences your service, but apart from the technical side, it is the human relationship that we establish that will ensure a stable and lasting relationship. In our modern world of fast communication this often relies on using our mobile phones or even emails on the internet. However if the client is worth something to our business then a personal visit can be much more effective as it allows this personal relationship to develop to its full potential. It is much easier to understand the concerns of a valuable client when you speak to them face-to-face. Often it is not what is said that is important but how it is said or even what is not said. The other point is that they will know that you consider their business important as you have made the visit in person.

So to sum up, we need to build a stable relationship with a valuable client by first getting to know what their real needs are, and remembering that their needs are going to change. Then we must provide the best service we are able to and at the same time build a personal relationship with the client.

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©Ron Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: David and Vanessa Deakin of Zee2A are marketing gurus who work with Professional services Executives yearning to take their business to the next level. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes they help clients to create sustainable marketing strategies that attract more clients at profitable rates. To learn more, sign up for their e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit www.zee2a.com

Do you clearly understand the needs of your clients? Are you able to quickly and competently build relationships with prospects that develop into fruitful client relationships? These are just two of the Seven Principles of Professional Services Marketing that guide our mentoring programmes. Request your Free Copy of our eBook that reveals these vital principles in detail now!

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