Business relationships are crucial to every existing company. It fosters company growth and builds client confidence. Whether you are a web design company in the Philippines or a retail conglomerate, chances are, you are going to make some business relationships at some point. Without it, your business is doomed. One of the many ways to keep your business afloat is to build solid business relationships and nurture those relationships over the years your company is in existence. Business relationships are not only advantageous for financial purposes and gains, but this is one of the ways you can further a common goal with another business owner who shares the same ideologies as you or can similarly exploit what your company does towards a mutual benefit.
However, some business magnates and industrialists have little to no idea what goes on in these dealings. More often than not, these entrepreneurs would mishandle the logistics that goes on into cementing a solid business relationship and bypass the most imperative process in an attempt to accelerate the development of their relationship with their business contacts.
In lieu of building this solid relationship slowly, brick by brick till they have an established means of structure within which they can function, they forgo the entire process and get straight to the point. And then, they are left scratching their heads wondering why the relationship did not take off and work. Business owners need to recognize that like everything in life, good things come to those who wait and that great things take years to build. A solid foundation and trust with certain customers and clients do not happen overnight. For this to work, a little patience and perseverance are essential. However, sad as t is, some of these entrepreneurs would rather precede the tedious process of coaxing the trust out of their potential clients and customers in favor of having them as immediate business partners. But this is not always possible and even if it were, it would not exactly be a sustainable relationship.
If you are unsure whether you have the flair for nourishing business relationships, read on. This article collates the many faux pas you can do to sabotage business relationship development and alienate business contacts from the initial stage.
FAUX PAS 1: MONOPOLIZING THE CONVERSATION BY DOING ALL THE TALKING
It is the hallmark of every courteous person to give his or her company an equal opportunity to talk and be heard. In the dating scene, monopolizing the conversation without giving your date the chance to talk spells disaster and would diminish your chances for a second date. Similarly, when you are about to strike a business deal, talk and listen. If you do all the talking, you will give your potential business partner the impression that anything they have to say is of no paramount interest to you. Who would want to be working with that person?
When you tell someone you want to get to know them better, you ask questions, listen to their replies and comment or respond to what the person said while staying on topic. Do not dominate the conversation or your contact will feel unnecessary. If you do not display genuine interest in what they have to say, they would not be interested in you as well.
FAUX PAS 2: ASKING FOR THEIR CONTACT LIST
It is the height of bad business etiquette and manners when you ask for someone’s contact list during the initial meeting. As tempting as it sounds to get a glimpse of your contact’s business contacts list, you should refrain from doing this at your initial interaction as it gives off the impression that you only wanted to meet them for their contact list and not necessarily for a potential partnership.
Not only will it seem crude, but chances are they will tell their contacts not to transact business with you for this reason. Think about it, you have taken years to craft the perfect contact list; chances are you are not likely to give it away either to the first person who asks.
Instead, work on your relationship with this client and think of the many ways you might want to collaborate to market each other’s services to your respective lists. Build your current business relationship first with your initial contact before sniffing around for theirs. Remember, do not bite more than you can chew.
FAUX PAS 3: ASKING FOR FAVORS DURING THE INITIAL MEETING
Doing favors for people connotes an implicit trust and deeper relationship. Asking it during the initial stage of a meeting, however, is incredibly uncivil. When you ask your contact for a favor before building a relationship with them or even getting to know them, it implies that you are only interested in what they can do for you.
Additionally, it would seem like you asked for a meeting just so you can leech benefits off them, making your potential business partner or client leery of you. Build the relationship first. Establish a solid ground where both you and your business contact are equally comfortable with each other. When the time is right, you can start asking for that favor.
FAUX PAS 4: ASKING INVASIVE PERSONAL QUESTIONS
It is natural to be curious about someone most especially when we are meeting them for the very first time. Thus naturally, we tend to ask personal questions. However, consider that you are meeting your contact to do business with him or her; make sure it stays that way.
Keep questions impersonal and business-like but not to the point of coming off as brusque and aloof. Insert inconsequential questions like “What is the nature of what you do?”, “How did you start your business?” and “How did you feel when you were first starting out?” They are not exactly personal questions, but neither are they invasive in a way. After establishing a deeper relationship with your contact, you can progress from trivial and negligible questions to personal ones.
FAUX PAS 5: ENTERTAINING CALLS AND TEXT MESSAGES DURING THE MEETING
Basic manners and civilities would tell us that whenever someone went out of their way to meet us, it is best to give them our full attention. They expect it in the same way you do. That means without any technology encumbering the course of the meeting. In the same vein, entertaining calls or text messages while the meeting is tactfully disrespectful to the person.
Concentrating on the person in front of you should be a rudimentary practice. Do not hamper your meeting by taking calls or answering text messages as you will lose focus on what has been discussed. However, if you are expecting an urgent call or text message, let your contact know beforehand and excuse yourself from doing so.
Essentially, everything discussed above may seem like basic courtesy and etiquette a well-mannered person should possess. However, it is interestingly shocking to note that most business people – maybe at the height of excitement in the prospect of breaking a deal – would commit one or two of these faux pas. And end up impairing what could be a fruitful business relationship.Cultivate your business relationships, establish solid trust and build confidence. First and foremost. Doing so will not only guarantee you more prospective business contacts and clients but perhaps lifelong associates that can be considered friends as well.