Sarah Currey is the Sales Manager for Easy Food and building relationships is a huge part of her job. Here she talks about how to cultivate these meaningful relationships in a professional setting.
Building relationships is the key to getting what you want. Whether it be in your personal or professional life, its a known fact that people buy into people. So the fundamental rules to building good relationships in your professional life follow the same basic rules as that in your personal.
There are lots of small elements (as it’s the small things that count) to building the perfect relationship but I believe that they all basically fall into 4 categories – here are my 4 tips to building the right relationship and keeping it.
Before you go into any long term relationship personally you take time to find out more about that person. What you have in common, what they like, what’s important to them. You learn to understand them, establish their values so you know if it’s a right fit and you can build on the relationship. This is so important in business too, except sometime you only have the one shot to get it right – so make it relevant and make it matter.
Before you meet someone, do your ground work. Find out about their business, get to know who they are, who they are targeting, what is important to them and how you can help. Getting to know them before you meet shows you have already taken the effort to understand their business – you’ve educated yourself about their industry, you are confident you already have a good understanding, you have lots in common and you can therefore offer the right commitment to a long term relationship.
When you start a relationship with someone, you are committing to them. Good relationships take time and effort and that commitment has to continue throughout.
We can all be tempted to overindulge, spoil, flatter someone at the beginning but this can sometimes be very off-putting and let’s be honest, not everyone wants to be schmoozed. Be yourself with people from the start — that way they will get to know you and like you for who you are. It also means you don’t have to try and put up this false façade the next time you meet, which will soon become very transparent.
And also no amount of personal relationship can substitute for great work. This relationship is professional so the work you do for your client and the commitment you give to the project (not them) is what they will ultimately measure you on. You have committed to deliver something for them and that is all that is important to them at the end of the day…don’t let them down!
Without trust, what do you have? Your clients are entrusting you with their work (budget) and they have to trust that you are going to deliver on what you have agreed. When you first meet someone it’s all about building their trust and its only when they have that, they will give you what you want. For example, if your client doesn’t really understand what you are telling them, they may feel nervous and unsure. So this is where you have to share your knowledge that ultimately builds their trust and confidence in you.
Once the trust is gained its important to maintain it – keep them up to date with what is happening (good or bad), refrain from withholding information if you don’t think its right or giving them the answer they want to hear rather than the truth. Treat others how you would want to be treated. This way, they will trust you and respect you more for your honesty.
Respect goes both ways and its important to remember that. If they have bought into you, then they have shown that they respect you. Maintaining that respect will come through continued good service and doing what you say you will, doing it on time and to the highest of standards. Remaining professional and respectful to them at all times is essential.
Also remember to treat every client the same – your reputation and their respect for you is just as important no matter how cash valuable they are right now. It’s a small world out there and who knows where they may move to next, or who they might know!