Business development 31 July 2017

Five lessons for developing strong business relationships with clients

A high-angle view of a businessman and a businesswoman sitting in the office building lobby and using a digital tablet
A business reputation is extremely important, and therefore so is allying yourself with companies who share the same values

Writing for Business Advice, Dr Wayne Wright, managing partner at business advisory firm W Square, provides vital guidance for readers on developing meaningful business relationships with customers and clients.

As Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are finding out, becoming close allies and partners in the world is not very straightforward.

In the commercial world, developing meaningful business partnerships with your clients can also be difficult and taxing. Here, we want to share our top tips on how to develop a great business partner relationship with customers.

  1. Seek out clients who will add value to your business and complement your working practices and culture

Too many business owners are “chasing the money” rather than reviewing how each customer can help their business move forward. A quick due diligence review on them is all that is needed.

For example, review their financial accounts, identify if they are good payers. If possible, talk to other suppliers that are dealing with them.

We have seen many examples of companies celebrating the new order from a major corporate only to be in a cash flow squeeze six months down the road due to non, or late payment.

A simple check at the beginning could save your business much grief later on.

  1. Make sure you understand their strategic goals and vision

This is essential in forging a long and lasting relationship. Your company’s ability to react to the changing strategic nature of your partner is essential.

For example, one of our clients had a customer who was reacting to an aggressive competitor by undercutting with cheaper new products within their key markets.

By working closely with the customer and redesigning (overnight) their existing product, they were able to counteract the penetration of the new

  1. Do you share similar culture and values?

Google’s mantras of “Don’t be evil” and “Do the right thing” can be important if you want to share those same values with your customers.

We all want to have a relationship with those who give our business a “glow” or a bit of “stardust”. Business reputation is extremely important and therefore allying yourself with companies who share the same values as you is important.

Your values could be the adherence to top quality, exceptional delivery, as well as an understanding of the importance of customer excellence.

This is not only important as business traits, but it will make it easier for you to attract those clients who share your passion for those key business attributes.

  1. Build trust within every area of your relationship with your customers

Obvious, but few organisations excel at it. The building of trust is not only at account management level but throughout the company, from the CEO through to the person in your company who answers the phone.

The passion for meeting and exceeding customer needs must be evident throughout the whole organisation. One bad experience can potentially ruin a lifetime of trust built up.

Therefore it is essential that your people recognise the importance of looking after all of your customers.

  1. Share risks and rewards

Negotiations and agreements have to be win-win. Nobody wants to be seen as the one who got a bad deal. This will not only taint the new relationship but will massively reduce trust in the relationship.

Do the right thing, be fair, pragmatic, share risks and rewards with your customers and they will reward you with a long and prosperous relationship.

Follow these six tips to get more out of business relationships with your suppliers

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