Almost everything in our lives has to do with the relationships we build through time. Whether it is a personal relationship, such as a friendship or a family bond, or one related to what we do at work.
It is also known that there are people who prefer to work alone rather than working with a team, but the truth is that it is almost impossible to create a business without relationships. In fact, a life with little to almost no relationships at all will be harder than a life surrounded by different bonds and connections that bring empathy, trust and much more to the many aspects of our lives.
How are business relationships today?
First of all, you may be wondering what we mean by business relationships. Business relationships are those connections that are created between all entities that are part of commerce. This can be business partners, stakeholders, board members, and also those relationships that occur between coworkers, employers, and employees.
These relationships may also include salespeople, potential customers, banks, media, service providers, as well as government agencies. In conclusion, anyone that is connected somehow through a business, whether it is an internal or external connection. And they are very important to develop and maintain the success of any business. We’ll tell you how to do it, keep on reading!
Using networking to create positive and long-lasting relationships
Networks are an essential part of business success, especially if they are strong. The key to building them is having the will to meet new people and stepping out of their comfort zone. No wonder many have said over time that good things happen outside of the comfort zone, well, networks happen too.
According to an article published by Forbes, “networks are really just a collection of friends, teammates, and acquaintances” and in them, relationships are balanced, meaning that care and help go both ways.
If you learn how to network properly and effectively, you will find yourself useful and also valuable to others. However, it is not about giving everyone you know a business card, it is about engaging and truly caring and getting to know others. Time and effort are required but professional and business success will come from building relationships successfully.
Why are business relationships so important?
There may be times when a business is running short on money or perhaps it is just a startup with limited time and, what element will always be at hand? Human resource and business relationships.
Business relationships, unlike cash, are not a diminishing resource, they can only multiply. This is the main reason why they are so important to have and cultivate through time. They rely mostly on trust, loyalty, and communication.
A trustworthy business relationship will result in employee satisfaction, co-operation, motivation, and innovation. In addition, business relationships built on loyalty help companies create and be surrounded by strong and long-lasting relationships with employees, customers, and providers.
You can also be sure that a happy, positive and healthy working environment where there is good communication will bring higher customer satisfaction and better sales.
How to build better business relationships
Lasting business relationships do not just happen overnight, they need consistent and dedicated work so that they are strong enough to be able to rely on them if needed. There are many ways you can build better business relationships, one is by being authentic, in other words, be who you are and build relationships with others that you naturally connect with. Some people often use a persona when engaging with others, especially online, but it is not advised to go down this path.
With being authentic comes mutual respect. As you would expect others to accept you as you are, you need to do the same. Not everyone has the same likes and opinions as you and, even if you think they are wrong and you are right, respect must come first.
Another important aspect to take into consideration when building business relationships are shared values. It will be very hard to connect with others that have very different values than yours. Some of these values may be the moral character, respect for others, trust, honesty, and so on.
Small-business trends suggest that showing vulnerability is positive for building good relationships because it shows your human side and it is also part of your authenticity. Also, demonstrate loyalty by letting others know that you are willing to be there for them if they ever need you.
Another way to show that you are not there just for the business but because you truly want to create and establish long-lasting business relationships is by getting more personal. Ask people for coffee together and be willing to share ideas, experiences, points of view and learn about each other’s stories. You can also schedule brainstorming time to help each other out in your own businesses.
Like we said above, trust is another value that will help build better relationships. If others know you can be trusted, it will be more likely that they will seek out to you for many reasons: asking you for advice, wanting to know your opinion, or doing business with you.
Trust is a complex emotion because it needs to grow gradually and it has to occur both ways for a healthy relationship to develop. However, if the trust is broken, it is very hard to gain it again, although not impossible, you will need to demonstrate you can be trusted, or vice versa. If you are a person whose trust was broken in the past, then it will be harder for you to open yourself to anyone, or it can take longer for you to do so. We believe that this emotion is one of the most important emotions in any type of business relationship.
We would also like to mention empathy and why it is also another important aspect to have when building a business relationship. Empathy is defined as the ability to sense other people’s emotions and you can show empathy for others by demonstrating concern for them and their lives and instead of trying to judge them, getting into their shoes and seeing things from their perspective. The same is applicable in business, getting to know pain-points, needs or challenges about your client´s business (or about-to-be client) and communicating your business value proposition to them, adapted to them, will create a high sense of empathy, hence, stronger relationships.
Empathy works, like trust, both ways. Everyone wants others to feel empathy for them, but ironically not many people are willing to invest too much time on being empathetic towards others. It is not only about understanding what the other person may be going through, but also about sharing and connecting with his or her concerns or feelings.
Finally, let go of expectations. You never know, and you cannot plan, how a relationship is going to develop so do not make any assumptions and keep an open mind. You should not have a preconceived expectation of people because if they turn out to be different than what you expected, you will have set yourself up for disappointment.
Relationships are complex and each and every one of them is unique. Yes, it takes time and effort to create relationships that will last for a very long time, but it is worth it. Like we said before, jobs, businesses, things we own may come and go, and all that can always stay with us are the connections and relationships with the people we meet throughout our lives and business´ journeys. In our next article, we will be sharing with you how marketing professionals are using modern tactics like social selling to develop more sustainable and stronger business relationships not only with clients (or potential clients) but also with their sales team.