The best (and the only) way to earn wealth and grow a business is to be of service. What do you think is common in all successful companies, big and small, that continue to traverse the growth trajectory year after year?
It’s their commitment to serve their customers to the fullest.
They inculcate strong relationships with their clients and here’s how they do it:
1. Be Strictly Professional
First things first, avoid a “casual approach to business” at all costs. All employees, including the senior management should be well versed with the corporate etiquette.
Avoid, for example, treating your clients as if they were your friends.
You are a service provider and the relationship should be limited to just that.
2. Respect Personal Space of those You Deal With
Whether you deal with a client directly or communicate with some of his subordinates on a daily basis, make sure to never invade their personal space.
It’s a cardinal sin.
Don’t barge in on Facebook or Twitter, for example.
Late night phone calls, whether for clearing out confusions or anything else, should also be avoided at all costs.
3. Establish Mutually Agreeable Ground Rules for Communications
Be it email, telephone calls, IM chats or any other mode of communication, lay down a seat of ground rules.
Decide on some common issues such as:
- Who should be contacted on email for a given task
- Who should be copied on email for different tasks, issues and follow-ups
- When is it a good time to call a manager or any other employee at both ends
- When and how should the review meetings be carried out on a weekly or monthly basis
- Which instant messengers are to be used for client communication and how
4. Promise Less Than You can Deliver and Then, Deliver More than They Expect
When it comes to the quality of work, turn-around-time, deadlines, response time and other such parameters, make sure to always promise less than you can deliver.
Then, deliver more then what you’ve promised or proposed initially. Your clients are going to like it the first time, and every time after that.
5. Understand Needs that the Client is yet to Define for Himself
There’re 3 chief reasons why individuals and businesses hire third party service providers:
- Cost cutting
- Lack of expertise
- Focus is on core business activity
Unless your clients are experts in the service area you specialize in, they are likely to have little or no idea of their complete requirements.
If some of your clients are like that, make sure to take the initiative and brief them on various needs they are unaware of.
6. Recommend Improvements
Don’t hesitate to pass on some suggestions every now and then. But, do it only if you’ve a valid reason to believe that certain improvements are necessary.
Such gestures can go a long way in building the much needed rapport for a long term business relationship.
7. Exhibit Commitment to Client’s Interests
As and when possible, be genuinely interested in a client’s business processes, goals etc. as you’d do for a friend. If you think there’re certain ways you can help a client’s business grow, go ahead and talk to the concerned person. Be it email communications, review meetings or the way products/services are delivered, exhibit commitment to client’s interests at all levels.
8. Meet, Play and Laugh Together As and When Possible
You cannot possibly be drinking in a bar or cheering together at a game in first few weeks of your business relationship but yes, when it grows old, it’s about time you start taking the relationship to the next level. If your client is in your city on a business trip, for example, it’s completely fine to go out and make him feel at home.
9. Lastly, Be Honest
Business relationships, no matter how mutually beneficial, cannot survive the test of time if either of the two parties resorts to manipulation, lying, undercutting etc. You can be blunt when the situation demands but make sure to never take the seemingly “quick” but wrong way to reap some cheap dividends in the short term. Here is a nice post called “Why Is It Important in Business for Relationships to Be Based on Honesty, Trust, Fairness & Respect?”
Look at the big picture.
Create business relationships that would last a lifetime. Learn to be of more service everyone around and be really proud that you do that. It’s a very rare trait found in the most successful of men and women who’ve ever walked this earth.
Hope you enjoyed the article contributed by Jonathan Curran. He is author and founder of PROMOTIVATE Speakers Agency. They represent world’s leading business, conference, adventure, woman and motivational speakers of all the time. You can have a look on some leading speakers here who can help business and organization to inspire their employees to a great extant. They can speak for you in business conferences and meetings too.