By Stephanie Ciccarelli
March 19, 2009
Most business relationships start out great, but how do you keep them that way?
Maintaining a business relationship is something you have to work at and can be likened to a marriage, which as you may know, needs constant TLC.
Find out what to do, and perhaps most importantly, what NOT to do to keep your business relationships healthy at VOX Daily.
Nothing beats having a great business relationship. We have several key relationships with partners that are simply fantastic, but no word of a lie, it takes a lot of work to maintain those relationships and keep them going strong.
In a way, it's almost like being married. You've got to be sensitive, respectful, and in some cases, protective of your partner. There's sure to be some give and take and there certainly needs to be a clear understanding of your goals and how you are going to reach them together.
In a business relationship you have to stay on message.
While I could go on and on about how to be a good business partner or associate, I'd like to point out a few things that could catch you off guard if you're not careful that may ruin or severely compromise your relationship.
No one likes being talked about behind their back, especially not by those who they believe to be on level or amiable terms with. If you are in a business relationship, whether it be with a client, a vendor, or someone else, make sure that you always speak to the best interests of your partnership and don't say things to other people (online or off) that could be misinterpreted as disagreeable or ambiguous. Similarly, never bring your business into a relationship where you aren't completely comfortable with a partner and their objectives as it could come back to bite you or put you at a disadvantage. This can become toxic and the other party always finds out which as you can imagine paints a different picture and could spell the end of your affiliation.
It's a well known truth that you only get what you put into something, and that includes business relationships. If you cease to nurture your relationships and put them on the back burner, the pot will sizzle in your absence and boil over making a mess of what you thought was the perfect pairing. Keeping in contact regularly helps and open lines of communication are a must. While you don't need to send annual gifts marking your first business deal, you should be considerate of all you've worked to build and let your partners know that you appreciate them.
This is perhaps the proverbial nail in the coffin. Never, under any circumstance, strongly consider or engage in business activities with a valued partner's direct competitors. To avoid this (at all costs), be sure to discuss who your partner considers to be their competition while revealing who you believe yours to be. This is a good opportunity to reassure your partner that you will not stray from your relationship. If need be, put up barriers to entry to protect your partnership by creating a template response that declines offers in a prompt and professional manner. If emailing, BCCing (blind carbon copying) your partners on such communications helps to build a better rapport with them and reinforces your desire to work only with your established partner in this space. Another way to preempt or educate potential suitors ahead of time is to issue a joint press release announcing your partnership.
If you've noticed a theme to this article, it's that people are at the heart of relationships, not companies, organizations or buildings. By keeping your business relationships healthy, they stand a better chance to prosper and open up more doors of opportunity than previously imagined.
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