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December 11, 2014

4 Steps to Building Long Term Professional Relationships

Business

Jeff Cochran

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Repeat customers and long term business relationships can make or break a professional career. Whether you’re seeking to build a better relationship with your company’s clients or further your influence as an industry professional, it’s important to take an active role in solidifying business relationships. Completing negotiation training and sales training will give you a strong foundation from which to cultivate relationships, as will the following tips.

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Adopt a “Give and Take” Philosophy 

As professionals with negotiations training under their belt clearly understand, laying the foundation for a strong business relationship requires a bit of give and take. Instead of initiating contact only when you need something, become a go-to resource for your professional network. Communicate often enough that you remain informed about your contact’s needs and challenges, and become an active part of the solution.

Use Social Media (Really)

Modern sales training emphasizes the use of social media to keep professional networks buzzing, but individual professionals often fail to use social platforms to their advantage. Unlike years past, professionals are relying more on social media to communicate with existing contacts and create new relationships. While the old fashioned phone call shouldn’t be ignored, consider switching up your routine by reaching out to contacts on social media. A direct message on Twitter or a mention on LinkedIn may be enough to gain new leads or land a new project.

 Exceed Expectations 

When honored with the opportunity to provide a service or product to a professional contact, aim to exceed their expectations every time. Take deadlines, specifications, and project goals seriously to ensure your contact’s satisfaction with your work, and always communicate throughout the process. Keeping the lines of communication open will show your business contacts you’re committed to going above and beyond to guarantee their satisfaction. A solid record of success with your contacts is the best way to foster a long-term professional relationship that is beneficial for both parties.

Don’t Undervalue a Good Recommendation 

Even if there are a few people in your professional network you’d rather forget, never waste an opportunity for a good recommendation. In the midst of a task-filled day, speaking with one of your less-than-favorite contacts may be the last thing you want to do. However, taking a few minutes out of your day to be responsive increases the probability that you’ll be recommended to other professionals. When all is said and done, the effort is worth it.

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