Published On: Fri, Sep 21st, 2012

The Business of Building Relationships

For a family to be successful, the relationship must be on a firm basis. It must be cohesive or it crumbles. Just as it is important in your personal life to establish good relationships, so is it important for the life of your business. Distrust, disrespect, secrets, gossiping and the like shakes the foundation.

We can’t be all things to all people but we can be team players. Just as in families, the standards are set at the top and filter down, so is it in business. It all starts at the top! When I walk into an office and the receptionist is cold, unfriendly or downright nasty, I get a clue – the boss probably is, too.

The true relationship between an organization and its clients actually starts after the transaction is completed. How well the relationship proceeds is determined by how it is managed by the organization. Ethics and honesty play a major role in relationship development. Always remember, it is more cost effective to maintain existing clients than it is to find new ones to replace them. Retaining your customer base is always a priority. Good relationships with clients should not be underestimated.

In a selling situation, for example, it used to be that the organization and buyer sat on opposite sides of the fence.  Today, this has largely changed to a partnering situation between buyer and seller working together to achieve their mutual goals. Sellers today recognize that a buyer’s failure with their product/service will reflect negatively on their performance. Therefore, it behooves the seller to take an active role in helping the buyer select the right product the right equipment, the right style.

Before the seller starts a relationship with the buyer, she/he must understand what the buyer wants in the relationship.  Buyers want their sellers to be team members and have a high degree of ethics and integrity. They want that comfort zone in the relationship, in knowing that the seller will do as promised.   The relationship cannot progress unless the seller is able to be a problem solver, provide the buyer with service, and satisfy the buyer’s perceived value.

The seller can ensure a lasting relationship by trying to make sure that each and every transaction will be mutually beneficial. Strange as it may seem, sometimes the best way for the seller to establish this trust and build a relationship is to solve a problem when she/he foresees one that the buyer may have with his/her product/service; late delivery, merchandise not received as ordered or any area that the company has not performed as promised.

It is important to understand that the person wanting your product/service really wants more than that. They want you to be a team member. They are hoping to do business with an ethical person and one who has integrity. They want to feel secure in knowing that you will do and deliver whatever was promised.

Statistically, more than 50 percent of marriages end in the divorce courts.  We are living in a “me first” society; we want immediate success, instant gratification, all this, without being committed to making things work!  Maintaining a successful relationship, both personally and in business, requires a willingness to work at it.

Excerpts from the book, The Real World Guide to Fashion Selling & Management, Gerald J. Sherman & Sar S. Perlman, Fairchild Publications, Division of Conde Nast Publications, Gerald J. Sherman, MBA, DBA of Sherman & Perlman LLC.is an author, marketing and public relations person and has written several books and articles on these subjects. jerry@shermanperlman.com   http://www.shermanperlman.com

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