You know that your product is as good, your service is as good, and your price is as good as the other guy’s, but you didn’t get the business. Poor business relationships strike again. Today, you need to have a tiebreaker to get the business, and outstanding business relationships are a magnificent tiebreaker. Let’s look at this from the perspective of you being the customer.
“When it all goes to crap, that’s when I know who my real suppliers are,” many business owners have told me. “That’s when relationships really matter.”
Don’t you feel the same way? Sure suppliers can fill the pipeline, but what about when supply is disrupted?
If you know, understand, and like someone, you are more apt to make an effort to work out challenges, be they supplier or customer. Better yet, if you trust someone, when things go into the dumper you absolutely know that you’ll be protected, and that they will make things right. Isn’t that what you want from your suppliers? Isn’t it also what your customers want of you? You know it is.
BUILDING BETTER RELATIONSHIPSHere are tips for building better relationships.
1. Keep your word and follow through. If you break your word, you can’t be trusted. After all, business is about results, not excuses.
2. Spend more time building better business relationships.
3. Communication is the most important element in developing and maintaining successful business relationships. When was the last time you sat with your customer away from the office or work site and asked, “How can I serve you better?”
Over time, many companies have developed scorecards or report cards to more formally communicate with their customers. A number have also done this to better communicate expectations with their suppliers. I believe these reporting methods are extremely valuable conduits of developing open communication with customers and suppliers.
This tool can easily become your tiebreaker in the marketplace. If you develop this tool for yourself, focus on the following two key areas: First, it is important to ask, “How are we doing?” and second, “What do we need to do to get a higher score or grade?”
The great benefit to you in developing better communication with your customers will be a greater understanding of what extra services and activities your customers perceive as being valuable to them. It really doesn’t make much sense doing extra things for your customers that they do not hold as being valuable, does it?
It will serve you well to build better business relationships through a regular reporting or scoring system with your customers. I believe you will also find this to be an important tiebreaker that you have over your competitors. Do more, sell more, and have more.
Publication date: 01/29/2007