Here are some tips to help you build strong Business Relationships- Team, Customer, Peer, Management
1- Strong Relationships go a long way.
How do you build those? Make some effort to get to know your customers, teams, managers, peers personally. This will take time but will definitely pay off in the end. Always be truthful. If you become known gets as truthful and caring, when you need to deliver bad news it will be more accepted. When you are asking for a bit more, people will be more willing to give.
2- Use Good Will Deposits.
There are times when opportunities will arise to under promise and over deliver. There are times when there you will be able to help your client behind the scenes or open doors that a peer may need. Whenever you do something like this , you are making a “good will deposit”. You can also make withdrawals. As long as you have a credit, when you have to make a withdrawal, it is a lot more successful (and vice versa).
3- Be fair
Make sure you understand both sides of the story. You can demonstrate this through active listening. taking accurate minutes to you meetings, taking the time for a one on one call or meeting. People have different preferred styles of communication. As you get to know your teams, match your communications up to their style so that they can “hear, see, feel” your message. As the conveyor of the message, it is up to you to ensure the message is heard.
4- Be clear
Be clear about what it is that is required or needed. If composing a message in an email, ask for what you need up front. Keep communications short. Stay away from acronyms,sayings, technical terms or corporate culture terms that are used as norms, unless you define them.
5- Be transparent
If you are having issues delivering what you said you would, be honest. Things happen and not everything goes according to plan. Your customer, teams, peers, managers will be better able to relate if they know what is going on behind the scenes. There are times you may not want to choose to air items that might embarrass your company or cannot share some inner corporate challenges, but share as much as you can.
6- Be empathetic/ compassionate
Try and understand what is driving your teams. They have goals they have to meet and bosses they need to please. As a service provider, we are here to help each team member, customer, peer, manager be successful.
7- Remember people have things going on in their personal lives as well.
Make notes on your clients, refer to those notes. Pay attention to the personal information and cues teams give you. Some people will openly share, others will be more guarded. When your customer/ peer/ team member or manager shifts gears, that may have a personal issue that contributes to how they react. Do not take their reactions personally.
8- Be humble
Make sure you take the time to acknowledge the contribution of others. Do not take all the credit for success for yourself. I have found it also is appreciated when you take the share praise for a key contributor with their managers.
9- Get back to your customer when you say you will.
Whether or not you have a complete answer for them, even if it is not what they want to hear from you or even if you need to defer again for a complete response, respond when you say you will.
10- Apologize when you have missed the mark
If you personally miss a deadline, apologize. When your team misses a deadline, apologize. Pointing fingers, blaming others is not what anyone wants to hear when something is off course. As professional managers we just need to get things back on track as fast as possible.
Remember , as a project manager or customer service manager you take the blame and the team gets the glory!