For you, it may be evident that maintaining or building relationships in business is essential, and that everyone should strive to achieve these goals within their working environments. However, because business relationships can be tricky, this is not always true. Sometimes a business relationship is transactional, and interactions only occur because they have a means to an end. Other situations arise because they’re relational whereby meaningful engagements develop, and a relationship can be built and maintained. It’s also possible for a combination of the two to occur. That being said, we’re going to look at how to build relationships in business and why it’s essential to do so.
1: Developing Open Communication Skills
It’s critical in any business relationship to have open and honest communication. Not only do you want the person you’re communicating with to see you for who you are, but you also want the experience to be authentic. During every encounter, it’s vital that you honestly acknowledge and are prepared to disclose what you know and don’t know. You’re establishing credibility when you admit to not knowing an answer and getting back to a person. When you’re caught making things up, this is considered inauthentic and being deceptive.
2: Trust Building
It isn’t possible to build trust overnight but, when it happens, you and the person you’re communicating with feel safe exchanging information. Trust takes time to grow, but it takes a moment’s notice to break down. One of the best ways to build trust is to determine what is essential to the person you’re doing business with and commit to providing that for them. Some examples include providing references, introducing them to a colleague, or giving them the data, they need. No matter what it is you promise to them, make sure you deliver it promptly, so you remain credible and reliable.
3: Don’t Rush the Pace
When learning to build relationships in business, one thing that’s difficult for some to remember is that it that they take time. You’re working with a window of time whereby you’re feeling comfortable regarding the pace to build trust, establish rapport, and feel confident with one another. You may feel like signing a contract the day after meeting could feel like a rush but closing a critical deal a year after its initial meeting could feel like too long. Develop short and long-term goals when thinking about the pacing of your relationship, as well as the milestones you’d like to achieve during its course.
4: Keep Emotions in Check
It’s possible to experience feelings of excitement and anxiousness when engaging in new relationships. Under some circumstances, interpreting some comments or actions may not be as simple as they may seem, or you may not be able to communicate what’s on your mind well due to not knowing the person. During uncomfortable moments, it’s a good idea to identify practices you can utilize to help you feel more at ease. One way is by slowing your breathing and practicing visualization. Not only will this help you buy some time to develop a suitable response, but you’ll also be able to calm down and develop a better understanding of the situation.
5: Develop Mutually Beneficial Situations
When business relationships develop mutually beneficial cases that could pay off for each person who is investing their time and energy, then it could potentially turn into a learning experience for both of you. Under some circumstances, this could mean that the both of you could receive a performance increase when you’re working together. There could be other tangible benefits, as well. Think about every aspect of your business relationship, what’s valuable about it, and what is essential for retention. What are you contributing to this relationship? What are they adding? Mutually beneficial business relationships are those that are the most beneficial and valuable in the workplace.
Should You Foster Transactional Relationships?
It’s possible for transactional relationships to be either competitive or collaborative. If they’re collaborative, you and the person with whom you’re doing business each walk away with a positive feeling regarding the transaction. The collaboration feels like it was fair and the both of you believe you would do business with each other again in the future. Conversely, if a competitive transaction took place, it’s possible for feelings of unfair treatment to come about throughout the process. In cases such as these, you and the person you did business with may not want to interact with each other again.
When it comes to building relationships, you care about your colleague as much as the outcome. As a result, your colleague is going to also care about you as well. With that in mind, it’s essential to pay attention to the quality and process of how you are both communicating with each other, not just how the interactions are occurring as a means to an end.
When you frame these relationships as ones that are collaborative, you can build and maintain them through the relational process. It’s for that reason it’s essential to foster transactional relationships so long as they remain positive and there’s no competition.
Building relationships in businesses aren’t impossible so long as you’re doing so with the best intentions and have a long-term goal. If you’re building the relationship only to get the other person to do something for you immediately, then this isn’t the best tactic. Neither you nor the other person will benefit from this type of situation because it looks like you’re developing the business relationship for only one purpose. Instead, it’s critical to think about what your long-term goals are regarding the relationship you’re about to build, the milestones you’d like to achieve, as well as any other goals that would be mutually beneficial for each of you. Upon doing so, you’ll be able to develop a more solid foundation for your relationship, it will become more valuable for each of you, you’ll feel trust, and the both of you will feel credibility.