Relationship building is an invaluable skill to have for any individual who inhabits and works within a society. When that individual is looking to start and sustain a business, however, the stakes are much higher, and relationship building takes on added importance. With increasing competition in almost all fields of business, it has become an important factor in helping a company stand out from the rest of the market. Its position in marketing and its inclusion in the marketing strategies of a company will go on to have a major impact on that company’s performance in a cut-throat competitive market.
What is Relationship Building in Business?
Many relationships are important while building a business. Relationships between an employer and their employees, relationships with other competitors as well as complementary businesses, relationships with the community, relationships with governmental authorities, all form a part of a company’s relationship marketing portfolio. The most important, of course, is the relationship between a company and its customers. Thus relationship marketing as a strategy is one that will help a company find and keep its loyal customers, and increase their symbiosis in the future. This is a necessary aspect of customer relationship marketing, commonly known in the corporate world as CRM.
What Kinds of Relationships are Beneficial in a Business?
Social support is usually the most useful kind of relationship that will help a company’s place in the market. This does not require specialised relationship building skills, as it simply means being present and actively participating in interactions with your colleagues, employees, and customers. This kind of relationship building needs to go above and beyond just the necessary communications and interactions required for the work itself. Rather, it should be taken up consciously as one of the many possible relationship building activities.
Becoming a mentor is also a great way for relationship marketing, as it is beneficial to both the teacher and the taught. The teacher gets a lot more practice, helping them become even more skilled in their subject matter. The student gets to learn not just theoretically but in the presence of someone who has the requisite experience. Many relationship building activities can also be tailored around such kinds of business relationships.
Friendly relations with customers are also an important aspect of relationship marketing and should be assigned their proper value. As one of the most important marketing strategies, it is positioning in marketing must be foremost. Happy customers are loyal customers, and loyal customers allow your company to really establish a strong foothold in the market, thus giving you a competitive edge. The better your relationships are with your customers, the less likely they are to ever move to a competitor for their business.
How Should Business Relationships Be Built?
Some of the most important decisions business relationships will be made at the very start of the relationship. The first step is to identify whom to establish a relationship with. This might be a no-brainer for customer relationships, but is often a key step and an important relationship building skill in relationships with other organizations. This decision should be made keeping in mind your needs and your compatibility with the person.
Steady and quick communication is also an important relationship building skill in sustainable business relationships. It is crucial to let your counterparts know that you are interested in whatever you have discussed, whether it is strictly work-related communication or otherwise, and the best way to do this is to be fast and effective in your communication.
Another key but often forgotten relationship building skill is to not promise more than your abilities allows you to deliver. In many situations you may be tempted to make commitments you cannot realistically keep, and failing to do so, as will inevitably happen, will erode the trust you have built so far. Trust is a critical asset in any relationship and must be protected at all costs.
Money, of course, is always a tricky factor, and relationships can be built and destroyed by how both parties involved handle conversations about money. It is important to be direct and clear, but also tactful and careful while discussing money matters. These are best discussed in person. Always express appreciation when tasks are completed well and early, as this makes your relationship agreeable to the person on the other end.
Relationship building activities are a great way to hone people’s relationship building skills. It is a good idea to build effective teams as well. At the start of a project, these relationship-building activities can come in handy.
Icebreakers are a staple in the workplace environment, and can drastically reduce the time it takes for a new team to gel together, thereby ultimately enhancing their productivity. These can also help people get to know one another, encouraging them to become friends as well as colleagues. This can also have a positive effect on the workplace environment, as people who like one another will most likely work well together, and definitely better than people who don’t. It also opens up channels of communication in a fun and relaxed environment, and these can later be utilised for the more demanding needs of the environment. It is always easier to build relationships in a friendly, tension-free atmosphere than in the stress-inducing and time-sensitive atmosphere that often accompanies the workplace environment when work on a project finally starts full swing.
Thus relationship building skills and relationship marketing must necessarily occupy an important place in any company or individual’s marketing strategies, and their positioning in marketing is determined by the needs, preferences, and available resources of the company or individual. The best companies and the best employees are often those who have a large number of mutually symbiotic relationships, both within and outside the company. This helps them become more resourceful and productive workers and ultimately helps them have a richer, more fulfilled life in the marketplace. Besides, the competitive market is a stressful place, and any interaction with people who share and understands your struggles is always a blessing. For stronger companies and better positions in the market, effective business relationship building is a must.