Your success and growth as a business owner or leader is often determined by your ability to influence and leverage. The more you can influence people’s thoughts and actions, and leverage their time, knowledge, resources and contacts, the quicker you can increase your capacity for growth.
To do this effectively though you need to increase your credibility, provide real value and most importantly establish mutually beneficial relationships. But where do you start? Here are four tips to help you build more profitable authentic relationships with clients, referral partners, colleagues and stakeholders.
1. Decide who you want a relationship with
To build profitable business relationships you need to make sure you connect with the right people. So first decide who you want to do business with and who you don’t. Connect with them, have a coffee or lunch and discuss how you see the relationship work and ask them how they see the relationship working.
What does success look like from both of your views, how can this be a win/win relationship?
You will be dealing with your connections on a regular basis and in some cases share clients with them so you need to get along well and feel comfortable with them. When you know, like and trust each other you are more likely to value the relationship and keep it going.
2. Keep in regular contact
The only way to stay at the forefront of someone’s mind is to increase the amount of meaningful touch points you have with them. Agree how often, when and where you will meet. Book them in the diary in advance.
Treat your existing clients as though your business depends on them, because it does. Nurture your business relationships by continually adding value to them. Where possible exceed expectations.
When you create amazing customer experiences and valuable relationships, people will naturally talk about you and refer you to their friends, family, colleagues and clients.
3. Be authentic
Be genuinely interested in the person. What are their needs and desires? What are their interests and priorities? What do they want to achieve? Who is their ideal client?
The more you know them on a professional and personal level, the easier it is to build rapport and add value. Be yourself through this process, authenticity is a big part of building trust and rapport.
4. Discuss expectations around referrals
While you do need to ask for referrals so you both know your ideal clients, timing really is everything. You don’t want to ask for referrals at the first meeting or even straight after you make the sale.
The best time to ask is always after you have done something for them. It could be saving them money, reducing their expenses, helping them achieve a goal, finding them a contact, delivering a desired result or making their life easier.
Always ask after you have given value. Not only will they be more inclined to say yes, they will also give you a far better endorsement.
What are your tips for building profitable relationships?