BizSmart Core Adviser Steve Parker has learnt a huge amount about maintaining fantastic business relationships with people of different cultures and backgrounds, who are thousands of miles away…
Relationship building is still a fundamental part of my business today, and many of my business contacts are often genuine, valued friends.
These are people who would just be ‘customers’ to many business owners – simply names on a database to be manipulated on a CRM system – but focusing on business relationships can be a key part of business growth.
One of the first things I discovered when I first started in international sales and marketing, all those years ago, was that you don’t always get home for dinner!
Relationships are critical to business and life and are way more important than product, price or perfecting a smooth sales pitch.
Consider the kind of business relationships you want
How committed are you to developing relationships with your business contacts, potential customers and established clients?
Focusing on the relationship, and having solutions discussions are rarely a waste of time. Done successfully, this will often lead to repeat business, and larger opportunities and referrals are likely to follow.
Create positive experiences
When you concentrate on creating positive experiences, rather than just focusing on your sales and marketing pitch, this is often a worthwhile investment.
Think about the times when you’ve been ‘sold to’ or ‘marketed to’ yourself. Did this happen when you were feeling good or bad or when the time wasn’t right to place firm business? And how did it make you feel?
Often it’s not the words you use that are important, but the experience you create when you say them. As Maya Angelou said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
And being memorable for the right reasons is important. Over my years working internationally, I’ve learned that it’s important that people remember you after you’ve got back on the flight, or haven’t been in touch for a while.
Pick up the phone to build a business relationship
Make good use of social media, PR and emails to ensure people remember you. And you should be using Skype or FaceTime. Don’t worry about family interruptions or what your office looks like (within reason) – it makes you human and is part of the relationship. There are multiple ways to get in touch, but calling people up and speaking to them is rarely a bad idea.
BizSmart aims to help SME and micro-business owners scale their businesses and create value through sound practical business support. We aim to give you insight and clarity and fire up your determination to succeed. You can access blogs like this and more besides through our free SmartRoom service here.