Relationship management is the bread and butter to all entrepreneurial success stories. Social capital is one of the most valuable assets any entrepreneur can have, especially in your business’ early stages. To put it simply, relationship management is your ability to create, develop and cherish relationships with your current clients, potential clients, vendors and anyone else who interacts with your product or service.
So what do you do when you’re in a position where you have an uncomfortable experience with one of your clients or vendors, but you love that relationship and you appreciate the work you’ve achieved with that client. Many of us are still learning how to perfect this skill, including getting out of your feelings, seeing the bigger picture and remaining authentic (avoiding being fake)!
Check out my 5 tips to cultivating relationships that will catapult your business to success.
TIP #1 — REMIND YOURSELF THAT BOTH PARTIES ARE SEEKING SUCCESS
- Remember you both want the best. Sometimes the road to success may look different from one person to the next and might conflict but there’s always a road to compromise, be sure to take it!
- Make sure you’re out of your feelings and say, “here is what my client wants and here is what I want” how can I merge these ideas and communicate the suggestions with grace and agility.
- Step back from the expert role and be open to trying something new, be willing and ready to pivot and be nimble.
- The ultimate goal is to develop deeper relationships with vendors in order to find a balanced synergy
TIP #2 — DO NOT RESPOND IN EMOTION
If you receive a message via email or voicemail that pushes a button:
- STOP, don’t respond, give yourself time to calm down even if that means waiting a day to respond
- Respond with respect, don’t be afraid to ask questions in a non-confrontational manner
- Get off email! When in doubt pick-up the phone. So many things are lost in translation via email.
If you receive a confrontational message in-person, this can be hard to navigate in the moment, you typically won’t have the opportunity to ask yourself is it just me, am I in a bad mood or is this person truly being offensive, you sometimes just have to respond. Here’s what you should do:
- Take a deep breath
- Think it through
TIP #3 — BE AUTHENTICALLY YOU
People can smell BS from a mile away! In order to build a relationship, you must build trust. Building trust and being authentic to one’s self goes hand and hand. I know it sounds cliché but be true to yourself, and your clients will always know what to expect. On one of those off days when your tone isn’t quite right, they will forgive you quicker because they know who you are and what you bring to the table!
TIP #4 – DELIVER ON YOUR PROMISES
Being reliable and dependable is so important. You want to be known for accomplishing or at least trying to accomplish every goal you set for your client.
TIP #5– KNOW WHEN TO WALK AWAY
Sometimes you have to know when to throw in the towel. There could come a point within your relationship that you realize the partnership is no longer fruitful. When that’s evident its more important to be honest with yourself and end the relationship vs. sticking it out and destroying what was once a beautiful bond.
Create your own list of things you want from your relationships. Maybe those things include salary, level of growth, level of autonomy, etc. and when things are starting to feel too uncomfortable, pull that list out and begin evaluating whether it’s time to walk away.
No one achieves success alone! Every place I’ve gone, every achievement I’ve accomplished, and every place I’ll go will be based on hard work but also the many relationships I’ve developed along the way. These relationships have helped open doors to new opportunities, they have challenged me to think differently and have pushed me to be better.
Cherish your relationships at all cost!