Putting it to Practice: Tips on Business Relationship ManagementTuesday September 14th, 2010
Has a business relationship ever become tense or soured due to unforeseeable snags in the plan? This tension can be due to miscommunication, falling behind schedule, not having a clearly defined scope of work, and more. If this isn’t familiar, lucky you. For those that feel the pain, here are some simple, yet often overlooked... View Article
The more communication the better.
As About.com tells us, retaining relationships is less time and resource consuming than tracking down new ones. When things go awry don’t forget to be vocal. Pinpoint ways to be constructive, propose solutions, and facilitate discussion by doing some homework and being open to feedback. This puts everyone at ease, demonstrates consideration on behalf of your customer, and opens the door for a partner or client to feel free in suggesting solutions.
Don’t shy away from a phone call.
When proceedings are smooth most would agree that emailing is sufficient, but more involvement is required if the relationship is strained or fractured. Positive inflection from a calm voice will be well-received and help to mediate the situation. Preparing primary and secondary objectives is a technique often used by salesmen that can also apply here. Breaking bad news is not easy, but specific objectives help to focus the call and keep it on track. This allows for insightful conversation that helps restore confidence and grow the relationship. Remember to take heart in your experience and know-how.
Under promise and over deliver.
Don’t be afraid to build in time to hit deadlines or deliverables. Associates will be happy when receiving their end, on time, all the time. They’ll be more willing to speak highly of your company and refer you to colleagues. Word-of-mouth is one of the most effective marketing tools. (Bazaarvoice reminds us to take care as this can be positive or negative) More importantly, managing this aspect of the relationship is a dynamic way to build trust.
Don’t forget to add value.
Take notice of smaller details and bring them to light. This rings especially true in a relationship with channel partners. A fresh perspective can welcome conversation about future development. It can also segué into channels of business of which your company is not involved. On a basic level, this shows interest in fostering a long-term relationship. Remember that breaking proceedings into manageable phases and separate discussions allows for more productive conversations. Wisegeek provides us with a thorough definition of this idea.
Putting to practice some of these easy, yet often neglected methods of business relationship management is a way to utilize the full potential of your relationships. Keep your eyes on the ultimate prize of adding value, fostering long-term relationships and minimizing dissonance.
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