BrainTrust Query: Three Universal Truths to Creating Strong Business Relationships
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is an excerpt from an article from the Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research blog.
In all my years on the supplier side and now as a consultant, I have learned three recurring drivers of creating successful relationships with colleagues who are either co-workers or clients. These universally apply to external relationships, like a research supplier working with a client, or internal relationships, like a client service team working with operations or an insights manager working with marketing.
The three universal truths of strong business relationships are:
- Help your colleague add value to who signs their paycheck: Make it easy for your client to have an impact that adds value to the enterprise that pays their salary and by so doing, you will have added tremendous value to your client.
- Add to a colleague’s prospects for career growth: Everyone wants their career to advance, to get great performance reviews, salary increases, and to be groomed for bigger and better things. An amazing engagement can do this for your client.
- Colleagues want to enjoy the ride: It is more important for you as a service provider to make it as easy as possible for your clients to work with you vs. more highly valuing your own efficiency and organization structure.
The last one is my favorite and perhaps most important of all. As a consultant, I try to be highly and immediately responsive as a delayed phone call back or a missed deliverables deadline can be fatal to a relationship.
Other ways you can help your client to enjoy the ride: be pleasant, personable and considerate, completely open and honest to reinforce that they placed their trust in the right person, and show them you are listening and valuing their input and opinions.
Think of this principle in the context of client service working with operations. Often the tension arises from client service feeling they are not getting what they need fast enough or that it is not correct. Operations then says that the specs were unclear and led to re-work. Each team becomes adversarial, thinking their job is harder, they are better at it, and they work longer hours because they are more committed. Clearly, in such internal tensions, no one is enjoying the ride.
Ultimately, both parties to a business relationship want it to be successful. You are on the same team! Keep these universal truths top of mind and success will be the outcome.
- Three Universal Truths To Creating Strong Business Relationships – Joel Rubinson on Marketing Research
What do you think is essential to strong business relationships? What is particularly critical in helping others ’enjoy the ride’ in engagements with co-workers or clients?