Business is all about Relationships, and Building Relationships should be viewed as a Business Transaction…Something you need to prioritise!
I have always held the opinion that business is all about relationships, so, in essence, good business is all about good relationships with everyone…makes absolute sense in my mind!
But my view, that business relationships can be transactional, is not so commonly held.
Direct ‘Experiences’ & Lessons Learnt
Over the last sixteen years, I have had the pleasure of working directly with many great worldwide brands including Sony, EE, GSK, Motorola, Universal Pictures, Fujifilm to mention a few! And without exception, the common theme of keeping a healthy relationship is keeping the conversation going, even when it is potentially dangerous to do so.
What do I mean by this?
Simple really, people, in general, would rather not have a conversation in certain situations because of such reasons as a service failing, an inappropriate comment by a colleague or the like, so hide from the situation and wait for it to blow over; this is a big mistake…true, the issue might appear to have gone away over time, but these situations rarely disappear; people remember, I know I do.
So, I propose that business conversation leads to a relationship; the more this communication takes place the stronger business relationships are and the better this is for the organisation as a whole.
Talk more = More Transactions = Better Business Performance
I am sure we have all had that one conversation, whether it was one with a customer, supplier or employee, that turns out to be the answer to all our prayers – Right?
So, it is easy to see the importance of keeping the channels of communication open; however when reflecting on these conversations we rarely consider all the previous hard work including calls, meetings, lunches, demonstrations, preparations etc. all those incremental steps you or your organisation has made to reach this cumulative point.
This is understandable, we are busy people, but just consider this question for a moment “Would that important conversation had taken place if I hadn’t completed all those previous tasks?”
I believe that it is important to consider all steps as a major contributor to the final conversation; if they hadn’t taken place then the all-important conversation might not have happened either.
Make conversation the no.1 priority, whether the message is good or bad…
So keeping channels of communication open is important and the most effective way of doing so is to have conversations, even if they are unrelated to business tasks, as Good Relationships = Good Business.
Don’t put off that conversation to do something else, it could mean the difference between mediocre and significant success. Conversations are something you need to have more of, so treat them as a transaction – a two-way process that can be managed. Take time to structure them effectively and consider them as the no.1 priority, the most important task you can’t afford to neglect.
Viewing conversation and relationships in this manner might seem trivialising or remote…belittling something as important as a relationship to something as simple as a transaction allows us to make it easier to manage.
Think of it this way, the next time you have to make that ‘hard call’ or attend that ‘hard meeting’ that you know is going to be difficult take the time to consider the best way to proceed. I propose that 9 times out of 10 it is better to ‘front the issue up’ at the earliest opportunity when key facts are known; no one likes to be told of a problem by someone else. Yes, you might have a rough ride but your relationship with the person involved will more than likely improve, through the trust and respect gained. As the saying goes, people buy from people they trust.
And I do appreciate that you might lose business short-term through being forthright, but the situation might be totally irreversible if they find out another way. It is widely held that it is better, or at least easier, to retain a customer rather than gain a new one. Spoken in these terms it makes absolute sense to front up the problem head-on.
Having this conversation at the first given opportunity makes sense to me; you never know there might be a way through it with the person’s help?
Conversely, opening up conversations without a burning need are equally important…dialogue is good (not time wasting drivel) but worthwhile conversation aimed at building relationships are key to success whatever the subject. So don’t put that conversation off, make them a priority.
Make conversation a Transaction…Talk More!
So by not having a lot of conversations you lose out…it makes absolute sense to put the people relationships first ahead of everything else, whether it is with employees, suppliers or customers/clients.
If you accept, as I do, that conversations are the cornerstone of good Relationships and that a good business can be created on the back of good relationships, then it follows that you need to prioritise conversations; so, I suggest you treat conversations as a transaction; it is something you need to do to improve your business.
More conversations give you the edge…
You give something in conversation and get something in return, hence the term transaction…
I propose that talking more will give you an advantage that isn’t achievable via any other means. By doing so you will become more aligned to your customer/client need, establish opportunities you simply weren’t aware of, gain improved understanding of employee thoughts and views etc. the list is endless, but the end result is the same – you are giving yourself and your organisation the best possible chance of success.
And the best part? It is so easy to do!
When writing your next TODO List prioritise those conversations to the top of the list; people around you will thank you for it.
Transaction Definition – Businessdictionery.com
General: Agreement, contract, exchange, understanding, or transfer of cash or property that occurs between two or more parties and establishes a legal obligation…
Nigel stone has, over the last fifteen years, started, led, consulted and nurtured both UK and European businesses to achieve quite outstanding results.
Please feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
*Any images used in this article are the property of the owners – Pixabay.com