With the economic environment more competitive than ever before, understanding how to build, strengthen and maintain relationships with potential customers, partners and colleagues is paramount to achieving greater success in your business and career. So how do you do that?

Paul Harrison sat down with business expert Kurt Won of SalesPartners UK to get his insights into business relationships.

Tip 1: Do what you say you’re going to do

Trust takes time to build up but trust can be lost in an instant. If you’ve promised to do something for someone, do it! It could be something as small as sending them an e-mail with information they need, or giving someone a call back. If you forget, call yourself on it, apologise and correct immediately.

Tip 2: Be the Real You

The current market trend seems to be heading towards more heart-based businesses, so don’t be afraid to share your true beliefs and opinions. By being authentic, you’ll find that people will warm to you quicker. Also, know what you want and be willing to be direct with each other about your business intentions.

Tip 3: Challenge their thoughts

Be confident enough to challenge their thinking by asking questions and listening intently. I was introduced to an accountant recently, and during the meeting I challenged her thoughts around her self-value because I thought what she was worth much more than she was charging. She appreciated it and we continued with a stimulating conversation. People like to be challenged and thought-provoking conversations can lead to more stimulating business relationships.

Q&A: Kurt Won answers Terry Loong’s questions.

Dr Terry Loong is a London-based South African who is building her anti-ageing and preventative health business and had the following questions about business relationships.

When it comes to finding a business partner: Be a friend first or be in business first?Great question. In my opinion, definitely business first. You have to assess if being in a business relationship with that person makes BUSINESS SENSE. Business relationships that start off friends first can create problems where one friend can’t hold the other accountable to their task because they fear they won’t be liked if they call the partner on something.

The saying goes that business is a team sport, how do you find your perfect business partner?I think it’s naïve to think there is a perfect partner. Find a business partner who has a similar ethos and mission to you. Also be very clear what you want in a business partner. Every business should have an entrepreneur (takes risk) and a business manager (avoids risk) to be successful.

What happens if the business relationship has soured? How do I salvage the relationship?
Be courageous to confront the issue. Confront doesn’t mean to be confrontational, it means being comfortable with asking what happened. Listen intently and ask a lot more questions to understand the situation. Acknowledge the other person’s feedback, and ask what would need to happen to avoid the situation again. Focus on the issue and not the person.

For more information you can visit www.SalesPartnersUK.com

If you have any other questions you would like answered, please email [email protected]

By Paul Harrison


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