Whether you’re managing employees, conducting business deals, or just trying to get more done in your day-to-day life, the right relationships can make all the difference. To develop great business relationships, however, you need to be able to tell the good ones from the bad ones. Here are five ways you can tell whether you’re having a great business relationship or not. If any of these apply to your situation, it might be time to rethink your relationships and make some changes!
Rule 1: Don’t be a Stranger
The best way to develop a great business relationship is to not be a stranger. Find out what they like to do for fun, where they grew up, and what their interests are outside of work. The more you know about someone, the easier it is to build a strong relationship with them. Many entrepreneurs try to learn new things from those around them, but fewer take time to get to know their coworkers on a personal level.
One of your most valuable assets in life and business will always be your network of relationships; take advantage of that by getting close to as many people as possible who can help you succeed at both. It’s easy enough: go out for lunch occasionally, or even just grab coffee together every so often. If you show genuine interest in others—and listen when they talk—your relationships will naturally grow stronger over time. Remember: great business relationships aren’t built overnight—they need consistent effort over time!
Rule 2: Always send personalized thank you cards
A great business relationship is built on appreciation and respect. One way to show your clients that you appreciate their business is by sending them personalized thank you cards. This simple gesture lets them know that you are thinking of them and that you value their business. Plus, it’s a wonderful way to stay top of mind so they think of you when they need your products or services. Sending a handwritten card or even a text message can help keep the connection between you and your customer. If they are not in the area, consider sending an e-card as well. You might send one with photos from a vacation or a photo collage of family pictures just to let them know how much you care about them. You never want someone who has been giving your company their time and money for years to be forgotten.
Rule 3: Focus on Others and Let Them Know How Much You Appreciate Them
One of the secrets to developing great business relationships is simply showing how much you appreciate the other person or company. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives and concerns, but trying to focus on others sends the message that you value them and their input. Whether it’s a handwritten thank-you note, a random act of kindness, or just taking the time to listen, letting others know that you appreciate them can go a long way in developing strong business relationships. By focusing on what’s going well and not getting bogged down by the negative, you’ll be able to build a connection with your clients or customers that will last for years.
For example, if you’re running a business where people are buying items at trade shows, don’t spend all your time talking about the things they didn’t buy; talk about the things they did buy! If someone buys 100 pieces of something, then they’ve bought $10,000 worth of goods from you. The odds are good that they will want to buy more in the future if they feel valued as a customer. So instead of dwelling on missed opportunities and missed sales–focus on building solid relationships with those who do give you their business
Rule 4: Don’t Feel Guilty if They Help You Out Too
We’ve all been in a position where we’ve helped a business associate, only to have them turn around and do the same for us. It can feel like a one-way street, but don’t worry – it’s not. It’s perfectly normal for business relationships to be reciprocal. If you find yourself always being the one who gives and never receives, however, it might be time to reassess the situation.maybe your company is putting so much energy into helping others that they don’t have any leftovers themselves, or maybe your association with this company is just too toxic. Either way, it’s important to understand when giving just isn’t enough. One key difference between an unhealthy relationship and a healthy one is whether both parties are investing equal amounts of effort into building the relationship. If you’re doing all the work without seeing any reciprocity, take some time to reflect on what’s going wrong before continuing
Rule 5: Don’t Forget About Personal Emails
When you’re trying to build business relationships, it’s important not to forget about personal emails. These are the emails that you send without any ulterior motive—just because you want to keep in touch. They’re a wonderful way to show that you care about the person, not just the firm or concern. You’ll be able to develop your relationship with this individual by learning more about their interests and hobbies, which will make your email exchanges more genuine and less transactional.
If you’re looking for work-related advice from someone who’s retired, for example, sending them an email unexpected asking for their thoughts on an issue could help set up yourself as someone they can trust and share advice with in the future.
Rule 6: Send Thank You Emails Even If It is Not Relevant to What They Are Doing for You
One of the most important things you can do to develop a great business relationship is to send thank you emails. Even if the person you are thinking of is not doing anything related to your business, sending a thank you email shows that you are grateful for their help and that you appreciate them. This simple act can go a long way in developing a strong, lasting relationship. Remember, all relationships take work.
To get a firm handshake when you greet someone, make sure that they don’t have a limp hand. If they offer up their limp hand while shaking hands with you and as soon as they feel your firm grip on theirs, they will be glad that they did! It may seem like just another part of a polite greeting but by giving a firm handshake, you’re telling the other person I am confident and I’m comfortable with who I am.
Rule 7: Don’t Lie or Hide Anything from Anyone
If you want to build a long-lasting, trusting relationship with someone, you need to be honest with them from the start. That means being truthful about your intentions, your capabilities, and your feelings. It also means being open and transparent about any potential problems or challenges you foresee. If you lie or try to hide something from your business partner, they’ll eventually find out, and that will damage the trust between you. They’ll feel betrayed by you and never want to work with you again.
Rule 8: Resist the Urge to Talk Down About Your Exes
It’s tempting, in the first stages of a relationship, to want to prove how over your ex you are. But resist the urge. This is a business relationship, not a personal one, and you want to keep a professional demeanor. Plus, talking badly about your earlier clients will only make potential clients wonder what you’ll say about them if things don’t work out.
You may have had good reasons for ending those relationships, but it’s still important to keep those details private. Instead, talk about how excited you are that this new partnership could be great and that this project could bring some much-needed energy into your life. Your new partner deserves to hear positive words from you as well as constructive criticism when called for.
Rule 9: Don’t Get Defensive When People Give Feedback
One of the best ways to develop a great business relationship is by being open to feedback. When people feel like they can tell you what they think, they’ll be more likely to trust and confide in you. But it can be tough to hear criticism, especially when it feels personal. The key is not to get defensive—try to see feedback as an opportunity to improve your business relationships. Thank the person for their input, and then take some time to think about what they said before you respond.
Make sure that you come back with something constructive that’s actionable. If you disagree with what was said, state why but avoid getting into an argument. Finally, always follow up with the person who gave you feedback so that they know how much their opinion matters to you. You don’t want them to go away feeling unheard or unappreciated.
Rule 10. Contribute By Being Helpful
One of the best ways to develop a great business relationship is by being helpful. If you can contribute to your business partner’s success, they will be more likely to want to work with you. Here are some ways you can be helpful:
Offer advice and ability when it’s needed
Make introductions to other people who could help them
Be a sounding board for ideas
Help with problem-solving
Supply feedback that is honest and constructive
Celebrate their successes -Suggest solutions for problems
Demonstrate concern about their welfare (How are you doing? Are you stressed out?)
Praise them publicly
Avoid criticizing them in public or in private
Offer support during tough times