October 27, 2021 | Written by: Rishi Aurora
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When I started my career about 22 years back in sales and account management, I was always told that build relationships, spend as much time with clients. I was told that the return would be good commissions and incentives.
I took a straight jacketed approach at the start of my career and when you are young you look at tangible outcomes for yourself and that tangible outcome for me was incentives/commission. If my memories serve me right, what gave me lot of joy was a purchase order in my hand because I knew I had my monies coming at the end of the month.
As I moved ahead in my career taking more responsible positions, I tried very hard to define what a successful relationship is, or should I say what a successful business relationship is. If you asked me what the secret sauce of a successful business relationship is, I have always looked at business to deliver a purpose and to deliver a profit to all parties involved. This means solving business challenges in a way that not only helps the organizations succeed but also helps people succeed. Any business relationship must be built on the backbone of “success” & “trust” to be long lasting.
The business relationship then converts into personal relationships over the years. Many colleagues of mine have talked about customer delight, customer service and long-standing relationships. However, I believe if there is honesty in your dealings with your clients, your relationships will only grow over the years. Don’t try and oversell to your clients. Don’t look at short term gains over long term relationships. Always do what is right for your clients. business relationships. Be a “trusted advisor” for your clients and I can assure you that this relationship will grow into you being a “friend” and a “go to person” for your clients.
I truly believe, if everything else is equal or nearly equal, people buy from people. Business relationships are key drivers of success, and just like any other relationship, they require a genuine investment of time and effort. About 86% of customers claim their experiences are just as important as the actual product or service they purchase. This statistic goes to show how important building good relationships are from the perspective of long-term success. Customers will always remember you for how you responded to them and how was their experience of working with you. Be yourself, be genuine always.
The way I used to think about business relationships has changed dramatically over the years. At the start of my career, there was an intrinsic understanding that if I build good relationships, I will get more orders, leading to more incentives and higher profit for my organization. A business relationship was, at that time, purely transactional. This was a rather short-sighted, and limited vision, of a business relationship. It was only when I was exposed to the varying dimensions of the field & as my roles and responsibilities expanded, as my career started progressing, that the real meaning of a business relationship became somewhat clear to me, and I yet say that I am a student of this subject even after spending 22+ years in the industry.
I have realized that business relationships, although transactional, are much more than the transaction itself. Transaction, if anything, is a constraining word for the nature of these relationships. These relationships encompass a plethora of conversations, activities and interactions that arise purely from mutual trust and respect, and thus calling them transactional is a gross understatement.
While we all understand that business relationships are important, both in the short-term and in the long term. It is only obvious that positive business relationships help in the growth and augmentation of any individual and any organization. They are essential to a company’s fortune. However, what we often fail to consider is the inherent value of the relationship itself.
I have come to learn that these relationships continue to remain relevant and helpful even as you progress through different stages in your career. The persons you have these relationships are not only a source of trust, expertise, and good advice for your own business decisions, but these persons also seek you out for the mutual benefit of trusted and proficient advice. Business relationships are always a win-win.
The personal rapport between you and your partner is bound to lead to trust. With time, and with the investment of time and effort from both parties, each party becomes a trusted advisor to the other. Conversations are had not only with the intention of business, but for friendly interaction and intellectual stimulation. Both parties seek advice from and offer counsel to the other on matters of business, and I assure you, advice from trusted experts always goes a long way in the industry.
The foundation of this relationship, like every other one, is trust. Trust increases with investment and interaction. If there is a business opportunity, your partner will remember you and that trust which you have invested in will result in more business. In a similar fashion, you will think of your partner when business opportunities for them arise, and you will provide them with business as well. These relationships are almost always mutually beneficial, and they continue to remain so. Even when you shift organizations, the relationships remain, and so does the trust and the advice. It is this feature that makes positive business relations so uniquely useful.
Put time and effort into your business relationships and establish strong personal connections with the people in your field. I assure you that they will always be worth the investment.