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February 1, 2013

How to Maintain Your Business Relationships

SNI's Philosophy

Jeff Cochran

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We recently wrote a blog post about building and developing strong business relationships. We covered some strategies for reaching out to people, and turning ‘contacts’ into ‘relationships’. Now, as we step into 2013, let’s take a closer look at some strategies for maintaining those business relationships.

5 Tips for Maintaining Relationships in 2013

  • Do yourself a huge favor. Write down the name of every business relationship you want to maintain in 2013. We can guarantee you that if you don’t write down names, you’ll get to the end of 2013 and have completely forgotten several people on the list.
  • Be a listener. In November, we covered the importance of listening to other people. It turns out that it’s a great way to maintain business relationships, too. Entrepreneur.com recommends listening as a key strategy to maintaining business relationships. When you listen, you know the right questions to ask a person, which everyone appreciates.
  • Create an ‘Editorial Calendar’ for sending out emails, making phone calls, and touching base with the contacts on your list. When you plan out time for calling a business contact, it’s much more likely to happen. Also, you’ll avoid that awkward feeling of calling up for a favor when you haven’t even spoken to the person in 11 months.
  • Though the editorial calendar is important, you don’t want to be robotic (which won’t happen anyways if you’re following the tip about listening). Make your correspondence unique. It’s fine to send out a monthly newsletter – just don’t assume that it takes the place of maintaining a relationship. When it comes to relationships with the customers and colleagues that are important to you, form letters and mass emails won’t cut it. Reach out on a personal level to the people on your list this year.
  • Lastly, don’t be objective-oriented. If you’re always thinking, “What am I getting out of this relationship?” then you’ll give up on half of them before the year is out. You might invest yourself in a relationship for 8 months – or years – before it’s of any practical “business use” to you. Don’t give up. The payoff will come with time – often in the most unexpected way. And, if not? Well… sometimes a relationship is its own reward!

What do you plan on doing to maintain your business relationships in 2013?

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