When it comes to businesses, relationships play an important role. You may be focused on the numbers, and intent on reaching financial goals. Did you know that client relations can help you reach those goals? Successful businessmen like Krishen Iyer have learned to value client relations. Improving the relationship that you have with your clients can increase sales and revenue, and help you grow your business! Krishen Iyer founded his first company in 2004, and grew it exponentially by learning how to maintain great relationships with those he did business with. Here are five things every small business owner should know.
1. Think Long Term
Be patient as a relationship starts out, and treat it as if it is going to last a long time. Great business owners do not just think about making short term gains. If you are trapped in this kind of thinking, you could mistakenly treat someone poorly in order to achieve your goal. Instead, think about setting up a foundation for the kind of reputation you want your business to have twenty or fifty years down the road, and act with a high level of integrity.
2. Learn To Listen
Learn about your client and what they care about. An active listener is present while the other is speaking, and actively following what the other is saying instead of forming a response internally. Listen actively, and then process what they have said, and form a thoughtful response. Never interrupt. Schedule in an adequate amount of time for your client interactions instead of squeezing them in between other pressing tasks. If you can not, be sure to explain why you are in a rush instead of cutting a conversation short without giving a reason why. Your client will understand if it is something to do with the service that you provide, because they will see how hard you are working.
3. Build A Personal Relationship Foundation
When you start out an interaction with your client, begin by asking a simple personal-life question. If you know the names of their children or significant other, inquire after them specifically. If you know that they have recently been away on a trip, or reached a family milestone, inquire about it. Ask a general question, like “how is life treating you?” if you do not know any specifics.
4. Honesty Is King
Be honest! This is easier said than done, but it will pay off in the long run. Relationships based on honesty flourish, even if there are some uncomfortable moments that must be weathered.
5. Treat Each Client As A Valuable Asset
You may have one or two clients that you know keep the wheels of your business turning. These are your most important clients, and they probably know it. They can tell by the way you treat them, and they appreciate it. Replicate the actions that you take with your most important clients across the board. Treat every one as if they were exceptional and special. Go the extra mile for them. You never know what it could lead to!