Improve Business Relationships with our 3-Step Plan

How many business contacts do you have, and how often do you speak to them? Regular interaction is key to improving business relationships.

In the realm of business, the breadth of your network is important, yet the depth of your connections defines its true worth.

Networking and making connections is one thing, and if you’re really good it, you’ll build meaningful relationships with the people you meet. However, too often, these relationships grow stale and you eventually lose touch.

It’s time to breathe new life into those dormant connections. Here’s a straightforward, three-step strategy to Improve your business relationships and potentially opening the door for referrals.

Tip: If your contacts are in a mess Read this blog post for help with organizing your business contacts

1. Join the conversation on social media

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Social media is a great way to spark up a conversation with someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. It gives you the opportunity to jump into a conversation without being invited!

Twitter / X or LinkedIn are great examples. Chances are, your contact will post something on either platform that interests you, sparks a question or reminds you of a related piece of content you could share with them. Use this opportunity to get back in touch.

If you’re not already connected with your contacts on Twitter or LinkedIn, take a moment to do so. Just by following them on Twitter, you’ve shown that you’re thinking about them and taken the first step in rekindling that old relationship.

Once you’re following your contacts, make sure you are listening to them. Business and entrepreneurship writer Neil Fogarty believes listening is one of the best ways to build valuable business relationships…

“I really do hate this phrase but its true you have two ears and one mouth use them in that proportion. The more you listen, the more you will learn! Ask open questions; show interest; encourage them to talk.”

Neil Fogarty

Once you’ve found and followed your contacts on social media, read their updates. Find out what they’re up to and what they’re in need of. Then you can move onto step 2…

2. Offer something of value

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You’ve been out of touch for a while, but now you’ve been paying attention to your contacts on social networks, you should be building up an idea of what is currently going on in their personal or professional lives (or both). Now you’re ready to offer something of value.

This doesn’t necessarily mean offering your services for free but rather sharing insights, information, or connections that could benefit your contact. Offering your expertise or resources without expecting anything in return can go a long way in re-establishing trust and respect.

If your contact posts something on Twitter or LinkedIn you could reply with a related post from a different angle. If they ask for help with a service you don’t know anything about, you might be able to point them in the direction of someone who does.

Small business authority Newtek believe that the more value you can offer a client or contact, the more they come to depend on you, but be careful;

“Don’t hesitate to share information clients may find useful, whether or not it benefits you in any way. In the same respect, refrain from bombarding them with irrelevant news or gossip, and don’t bother them with offers you know won’t likely interest them.”

Newtek

Now you have opened conversation with a contact, it’s time to get serious…

3. Make a date

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Social media makes it possible for you to form business relationships with people all around the world, but for building strong business relationships most experts recommend meeting face to face if possible.

Karen Leland, author of Time Management In An Instant finds that spending even just an hour with her contacts can help her better understand them and learn how she can communicate better with them in the future;

“After spending just an hour with my clients, I had a significantly deeper sense of who they were, how they operated and their personalities. All of which will make me more productive in working with them in the future. Besides, when I email them now, or speak to them on the phone, I can see their faces in my mind’s eye.”

Karen Leland

Steven J. Thompson of John Hopkins Medicine International believes that trusting relationships are a result not of what you say necessarily, but how you say it;

“Much, and probably most, of what you need to communicate to build relationships is based not on the words you speak, but in the precise moment-to-moment changes in the tone of your voice, your pauses, tiny shifts of your eyes, the slightest hint of a smile or frown, the way you shift your body. These subtle communication channels carry emotional information that is absolutely critical to the charisma leaders need to change the way people think, and to making deep connections with people.”

Steven J. Thompson

Asking a business contact out for a coffee or lunch will give you the chance to chat about a range of topics and get to know each other in a relaxed setting. Not everyone has time to meet for a catch-up so try to gauge how busy your contact is and what they like doing. That way, you can invite them to something they’ll actually want to go to and build a meaningful business relationship for the long run.

Conclusion

The journey to revitalizing old business connections is like nurturing a garden; it requires patience, care, and a strategic approach. The Harvard Business Review highlights five core principles for thriving relationships, whether personal or professional. These include transparency, authenticity, and vulnerability. Embracing these core principles within the framework of our 3-step plan can transform the way you rekindle and foster your business relationships, setting a foundation for mutual growth and enduring success. By actively engaging on social media, offering genuine value, and seeking meaningful interactions you’re paving the way for a network of strong business relationships.

Start today and watch your business network transform into a vibrant community of support and collaboration.

FAQ’s

What are the C’s of improving business relationships?

The 3 C’s of business relationships are Commitment (dedication to goals and actions), Consistency (reliable efforts for growth and branding), and Cultivation (actively fostering growth and improvement). These principles are crucial for strengthening both business and personal connections, ensuring success and development.

How do you improve business relationships?

To maintain business relationships, regularly communicate, provide consistent value, and show genuine interest in partners’ success. Actively listen, respond promptly, and keep commitments. Networking events and social media can also help stay connected. Prioritize trust and transparency to foster long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships.

What are effective ways to offer value in business relationships?

Effective ways to offer value in business relationships include sharing relevant industry insights, providing introductions to new contacts, offering your expertise to solve problems, and consistently delivering high-quality products or services. Personalizing your approach to meet specific needs and actively listening to understand their goals further enhances the relationship’s value.

How can reviving old relationships benefit your business development efforts?

reviving old business relationships can significantly benefit business development by unlocking new opportunities, gaining referrals, and accessing previously untapped networks. It strengthens trust and loyalty, which can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and new projects. Leveraging established connections also enhances your reputation and credibility within your industry.

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