Nurturing relationships is important, not only in our personal lives but in business circles as well. Here are 10 suggestions that help build solid, productive relationships with clients, vendors, contractors and employees.
1 – Connect diverse people.
Introduce people in unrelated enterprises who may be able to connect their businesses, or to create new opportunities just by building one another. Encourage businesses to feed off each other. By connecting a variety of people in unique situations, you develop a network that can grow, blossom and flourish on many levels.
2 – Give gifts.
Consider an occasional, thoughtful gift. Note special events or important milestones and help them celebrate. Remember employee birthdays and recognize exceptional achievements. Even the smallest token of recognition can be the pat on the back that makes someone’s day.
3 – Honest caring.
Express genuine concern for how things are going for them. Inquire specifically about areas of interest where they may be struggling or facing unique challenges. Offer encouragement and potential solutions for their particular issues. Expressing sincere concern opens doors. Remember the old adage, “They’ll never care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
4 – Establish trust and integrity.
Lay the groundwork for a healthy, long-term relationship by building trust and conducting all business exchanges with integrity. In a world of shaky ground, be a solid rock with reliable accountability. Give them peace of mind knowing they can trust you completely, and they need not feel vulnerable or skeptical in dealings with you.
5 – Invest in the relationship.
Be generous in offering your resources, influence and advice. Give without expecting a return. Always seek to build the other person up, and sow the seeds that you would like to see flourish in their lives. By investing in the other person, you provide the fuel to grow their passions, goals and dreams. The results can be phenomenal.
6 – Be precise in all dealings.
Establish a clear definition of all business agreements and contracts. Avoid vague terms and lack of details that can lead to assumptions. Spell everything out so there are no misunderstandings, and to avoid hard feelings or disappointments. A business relationship is stronger when all parties are confident where they stand.
7 – Be a listener.
As a business leader, it’s easy to focus on speaking, directing, instructing and encouraging. These are good characteristics to develop, but a great leader also learns how to take time to listen. Take in what the other person is saying and feeling, and make it personal. Be sensitive and responsive, and help them seek answers for their needs and concerns.
8 – Mutual benefits.
Offer connections and solutions that will enhance their business endeavors as well as your own. By partnering with them and seeking their good alongside your own, both can grow and enhance one another. Develop a win-win attitude towards your relationships, looking for opportunities to work together towards common goals.
9 – Encourage their vision.
Learn a little about their financial goals and dreams, and offer input that can help them achieve success. Even the most powerful entrepreneurs can become discouraged or disheartened. A word of reinforcement or encouragement can go along way toward recharging their determination and refueling their passions.
10 – Personal Interest.
Show an interest in the person as well as the business. Within professional limits, ask about their family, their passions and their dreams. If the door opens, get to know them on a somewhat more personal level, and establish a connection that is anchored from the heart, not just in dollars and cents. Like a puppet without a puppeteer, a business is nothing without the people behind it. Build the people, and you build more effective businesses.