There are many ways to frame business. You can see it in a purely transactional fashion, as an outgrowth of necessity, or as a means of enrichment. However, business is often at its best when we view it as an exchange between two or more parties in a mutually beneficial relationship.
Before you buy, sell, or even think about the bottom line, business is about building bridges, relationships, and ultimately, trust.
Here are a few ways you can build relationships with your clients.
Get to Know Your Clients
Getting to know your clients is the first step to strengthening your relationship with them. Simply “getting down to business” can seem cold, distant, and potentially even rude. Whatever the numbers say, the fact remains that facts and figures don’t make deals – people do.
Spend some time getting to know the likes, dislikes, quirks, and cares of your clientele. Don’t just dive into the items on the docket. Spend some time at the start of the meeting on topics of personal interest to your client, especially ones that you likewise care about and can bond over with them.
How long you spend on this will vary from person to person, and culture to culture. While many Americans prefer to keep this short, in Latin American business culture, it’s good business etiquette to spend a good amount of time on personal topics during your first meeting.
Anticipate Their Expectations (and Exceed Them)
This is where the personal touch and business excellence intersect. Now that you know your client better, you should know precisely what they need and expect. This can help you figure out the best way to not only meet those expectations but exceed them.
Meeting clients’ needs is a good way to sustain your business. Exceeding clients’ needs is a great way to expand your business. By exceeding their expectations, you can earn positive word-of-mouth recommendations from them, and more business as a result.
People’s lives are busy and filled with appointments and people, especially in the world of business. Don’t expect a one-off meeting to help you stick in your clients’ minds forever. Follow up with them at regular intervals to demonstrate that you care about them, and this will hopefully make them care more about you and what your company has to offer.
Smart business is all about relationship building. With these tips, you can do a better job of building the personal and corporate relationships you need to take your business to the next level.