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Eight Tips for Building Relationships That Build a Business

Tags:  Reputation, Small business, Starting a business, Networking

You've either decided to start a business or to grow the one you already own. Either way you are likely aware of the importance of building solid business relationships in order further grow your business. However, just because you know what you need to do, doesn't always mean you're sure about the best way to do it.


Here's the thing: a lot of people have an opinion on what you can do to develop strong relationships that will help your business thrive and grow; all of them valid. But what it comes down to is making it work for you.


So here is a list of eight ideas to help you put your business on the map. Now it's up to you to follow them.


Understand your customer's needs. This means that not only do you have to ask each customer the right questions, you have to listen to their responses. Make sure you understand what they are really telling you.

Give your customer what they want. Okay, once you've figured out what they need, their ultimate goal, you'll be able to determine how to get them there by giving them what they want.

Live up to your end of the deal. Trust is at a premium. Whatever promises you make, you have to deliver. That means don't oversell, don't over commit, and don't over promise. Say what you'll do then do what you say.

Be real and honest. Speaking of trust, you need to be truthful. It might cost you a sale, but you build credibility. If you can't meet their needs or time frame or whatever, let them know. Better to lose revenue now and gain future sales later on. This is also true if something goes wrong somewhere down the line. Own up to it. Don't wait for them to call you to find out.

Solve your customer's problem. If you don't have the right answer, it doesn't make sense to make the deal. Your problem may be that you need to make this sale, but if it ultimately won't help your customer then it's not worth the short-term solution.

Keep the lines of communication open. There is nothing worse than waiting to hear something, and not hearing a thing. Even if you call them just to say you have no further information, at least your customer will know their business is important enough for you to follow up.

Remember value goes both ways. Take time to understand their business and how you can make it better. If you show you're a valuable team player now, they may be willing to compromise later on. But also let them know how much you value their business. A simple ""thank you"" -- verbally or in writing -- can go a long way.

End it on a high note. Just as in any relationship there may come a time when things have to end. If you or your customer realizes that things aren't working out, be professional and civil. No name calling or threats.


Treat your customer the way you want to be treated. Do for them what you want others to do for you. And you'll keep on building relationships and your business.


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