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The reality is that business relationships are just like any other relationship.How To Go From Building NOOB To PRO in Minecraft
They require some effort to maintain and they must be mutually beneficial. As in any relationship, you must be willing to give, share and support, not just take or receive. But it wasn't that he didn't care about those relationships. It's just that he got so busy that he didn't realize how much time had gone by where he had not checked in with several of his contacts—an easy mistake for most small business owners who feel like every day is shorter than the last.
What Denisoff found was that, in two cases in particular, his failure to put enough effort into nurturing his relationships caused them to wither away. The first instance was when he called up a supplier to ask for a favor—not realizing how much time had gone by from the last time he had touched base.
Denisoff says his supplier seemed distant and not very willing to help him out, which was surprising. After asking him if anything was wrong, Denisoff's supplier answered that since Denisoff hadn't been around in a while, he felt like he was being taken advantage of. In another instance, he called up a customer who he could tell was not pleased with him because, in truth, he only called her when she had a project ready to go.
She felt like Denisoff did not truly value her and was using her only for her business. It's like having a friend that only comes to see you when they want to borrow money or need help moving," he says.
First, he created a contact database where he not only stored information on his clients, but also with vendors and business peers. He now uses the database to document the details of the conversations—both personal and professional—that he has with each of his contacts.
The actions taken by Denisoff are great tips for any business owner to adopt as their own.
Here are some additional tips from Denisoff and other business owners on how to build stronger business relationships that will last. How to Build Better Business Relationships: Encourage Honest Feedback "An open, honest relationship demands clear communications of how each party is performing," says Patrick Scullin of Ames Scullin O'Hairean Atlanta-based marketing services company.
Listen More Than You Talk "We all want to extol our strengths, our virtues in hopes of impressing others and, ultimately, getting more business," says Alisa Cohnan executive coach. I coach a financial planner and we did a little market research on what his clients value the most in him. Yes, they value his advice and his skills in handling the money, but a lot of financial planners have that.
What sets him apart is that he takes the time to listen to them and really understand where his clients are coming from. They said most often that they value his role as a sounding board, and a few even called him better than a shrink! That's the kind of behavior that leads to referrals and long-term business success. Make A Routine Devise a system to ensure that not too much time passes before you connect with your contacts, such as the formal database Denisoff created.
And with the proliferation of social media tools these days such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it's never been easier to keep in touch.
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Be Honest "As a small business owner, it's important that people see me as expert in my field," says Amy Harcourt of Definitive Marketing. I remember an initial meeting with what became one of my best clients.
I was meeting with the executive team and was asked about my experience in their industry of which I had none. I could have tried to spin my response to sound like I knew their industry.
Pay attention to bonds, loyalties, and networks that characterize your community. Recognize the norms, values and preferences that shape the behavior of the people you need. This will help you form a durable and effective network that you can maximize for your business interests. Apply your time, brand, and resources to key social issues. Build a constituency of relationships with people who have shared beliefs, interests, and ambitions.
Collaborating with them on solving shared social problems will turn them into engaged advocates of your business and make them your most powerful allies in building other relationships. Prune, renew, and reshape your networks frequently. Nurture people relationships critical to your organization carefully and often. Push contacts whose usefulness has diminished over time into your inactive network.
Regularly identify new relationships that are vital to the future of your business, and define strategies to build these connections. I do offer some points of caution in all relationship building efforts: More relationships are not always better.
Highly successful business leaders don't necessarily have larger networks. Be selective about the associations you form, listen carefully for situations where you can add value and derive value, and prune the rest. Over-investment in relationships can take precious time away from focusing on the technical elements of your business. Invest your time wisely in balancing the demands of market awareness, new technologies, and future organizational strategy.
Sometimes strong relationship networks can shut out new people and new thinking, insulating you from fresh input from the "outside. Overall, the breadth and depth of your relationship networks is more critical to your business success than your ability to define and build the perfect solution. These relationships empower you to confidently and aggressively take risks, continually innovate, and recover from losses and setbacks along the way.
Your business is a community, not an island. You can't run it alone.