Forming strong relationships in every area of life is an essential component to success. The relationships you’ve formed with various types of people in many different areas of your life can serve as a foundation for your creating strong ties with clients.
It’s always worthwhile, though, to reflect on what truly makes a relationship last.
Forging solid business relationships seems simple on the surface, but these ties require time, effort and tact. Developing and maintaining these connections can sometimes feel draining and even burdensome, but the rewards can be significant. A personal connection, whether developed over weeks, months or years, can lead to positive word-of-mouth, increased sales, additional connections, job security and satisfaction.
Keep the following tips in mind and strengthen the most important aspect of your business: the relationships you have with your customer base:
Related: Why Businesses Can’t Afford to Upset Customers (Infographic)
1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. This classic lesson seems like the simplest of tasks: Yet it is often the one forgotten. When engaging in business with a customer, put yourselves in the person’s shoes and provide the same level of service and respect that you would want.
2. Honesty is key. Stretching the truth about your products or services in any way can seriously hinder your reputation. If you can be honest and realistic about any services that your business cannot provide, customers will appreciate this and a foundation for a lasting relationship can develop.
3. Remember that your customers are people, not numbers. After a first conversation with a client, remember not only the name but something about the individual as a person. Remembering a fact about the person will prompt you to recall how your business can suit the person’s needs. And these little details can have a big impact on building the relationship.
4. Keep things lighthearted. Nothing is more upsetting than asking for a product and having a clerk or owner be rude. In contrast poking fun at yourself will help the client feel more comfortable so that he or she can better open up to you about a need.
5. Be cognizant of body language. People can tell, consciously and subconsciously, how you feel about being around them. Keeping your arms and legs uncrossed, smiling and making eye contact are great ways to ensure that a customer remembers interacting with you.
Each connection is unique and should be treated as such. Often the best tactic is to just be yourself and not overthink things. Take a genuine interest in a relationship and the rest will take care of itself.
While meaningful relationships, professional or otherwise, require significant time and effort to build, they often fall apart much more quickly. Take a relationship for granted, expect too much or appear apathetic, and rapport will deteriorate in a hurry.
Forming long-lasting, meaningful relationships is vital to any organization’s success. So avoid these pitfalls to instead reap the rewards of positive, mutually beneficial business relationships throughout your career.