Relationships are hard to build and maintain and this makes them even more precious. If you’ve worked hard to establish your business relationships, you need to do everything you can to protect them.
However, there are many things you may be doing to ruin these precious relationships without being aware of it.
Taking Before Giving
Relationships are based on reciprocity. You give and you take. Each party feels that they’re getting something valuable from the other side. This is obvious to most business people, but what is the ratio of your giving and taking?
You should never make the other party feel like you’re doing something expecting something in return. Instead, pay it forward, be overly generous and wow the other person with all of the value you can, especially in the beginning stages of the relationship.
Does it appear to the other person that you talk and never listen? This produces a one-sided relationship that’s really not much of a relationship at all. Picture this situation in a personal context and it’s easy to see. Most of us avoid people who dominate every conversation in our personal lives.
In a good relationship, there’s always a dialog. You should always strive to listen more than you talk. This not only maintains a strong relationship, but you’ll also learn a great deal about your partner that you may not have noticed if you were talking.
Secrecy is a major relationship killer. Of course, in business there are always things that must be kept secret. But you should keep your confidentiality to a minimum. Hiding things makes you appear dishonest, and openness is essential for establishing trust in a relationship.
Try to be as transparent as possible without giving out secrets or too much information. Make sure the other party knows everything they need to know about what’s going on. Give the other person plenty of opportunities to ask questions if they need to.
A business relationship is about business and both parties know it. But if you’re all about the business and nothing else, this isn’t going to feel much like a relationship, but rather an exchange of commodities.
You need to establish rapport. This means establishing a baseline of comfort on a personal level. Find things that you share in common and rely on these things to strengthen your bond. When you start by establishing rapport, you create a strong relationship for the long-term.
Hard to Say Sorry
Do you have trouble apologizing? This could be damaging your important business relationships. When you do something wrong or make a mistake, own up to it quickly and sincerely. Even major mistakes can be mended if you’re willing to apologize. The apology starts you on the path to reconciliation.