To thrive in sales uncertainty, your ability to build solid relationships is one of the most important tools in your toolkit. Relationships may not be on your company’s P&L statements, but they are some of the most important investments we can make, especially in the digital age. The value of people and healthy relationships with staff and clients can’t be underestimated.
When you invest in social capital to improve emotional intelligence and build stronger professional relationships, you create value and outcomes that are a win on all sides. They’re a win for your organization, teams, and clients.
Building positive relationships in an evolving workplace
Relationship building has always been at the crux of modern business development, and many fundamental relationship-building strategies remain the same today as they have for years. What it means to build a strong, trusted relationship is tried and true.
But the pandemic reshaped our world in many ways, and new considerations and challenges have emerged. The tools and technology available to us are vastly different, which can put us in the position of needing to adapt our approaches.
In my recent webinar, How to Retool Your Relationship Building with Staff and Clients, I shared 7 learnings from the past 3 years to maintain open communication and build stronger workplace relationships. Below are some of the highlights.
1. Remote and hybrid workforces are here to stay
While we are conducting more business in person again, the need to adapt and build professional connections with clients and coworkers in remote and hybrid environments is critical.
Be open to new opportunities to connect. Whether you’re face-to-face or online, business development is really about creating a positive experience that fosters client loyalty.
2. “Transactional relationship risk” is higher in virtual environments
Consider the interactions that you have in person. Typically there is more space for ad hoc conversations, and you’re in a position to observe body language.
That’s not always available in virtual environments, which are typically shorter and can feel more transactional. It’s up to you to make the best of each situation. Some of my top clients are people I have never met in person.
3. False metrics related to client growth are at an all-time high
With increasing rates and other economic shifts, one may see higher figures on the bottom line, but they don't necessarily indicate strong client growth. In addition, inflationary pressures, especially in professional services, challenge capacity.
4. Client curation is at an all-time high
Organizations are choosing different clients and being more selective about who they want to continue to serve. I’m a firm believer in quality over quantity.
Typically, 80% of an organization’s revenue is generated by 20% of its clients. Focus on the 20% of your high-value relationships. The decision to cull clients is difficult, but it can benefit your organization in the long term.
5. Identifying and accessing high-level relationships requires more creativity
Client and prospect expectations are higher, even for initial conversations. Research is integral to those successful conversations.
Pay attention to the global, industry, marketplace, and cultural trends that could create opportunities or risks for your clients and prospects. That takes time, but you will position yourself to become a trusted strategic advisor.
6. Digital presence is no longer optional
You will be far more visible to potential new and current clients if you have a robust and intentional online presence. Start by reviewing your organization’s website. What type of impression are you making? More than half of B2B buyers see your site as one of the most important content channels.
Next, take an inventory of your organization’s and team members’ social media profiles. They can help or hinder you. LinkedIn, in particular, is the de facto standard for business connections, and it provides a platform to share thought leadership and know-how in your field. Create a regular posting plan, and be sure to take time to also engage with others and grow your network.
7. Communication approaches need to evolve
When communicating virtually, be sure you are enunciating clearly, maintaining eye contact, being an active listener, watching for non-verbal communication cues, and encouraging conversation and engagement. Effective, online communication requires warmth, authenticity, and the ability to forge a strong personal connection with your clients and prospects.
Ultimately, an organization's underlying value comes from the power of people and relationships. How do you uncover more valuable opportunities and improve your overall job satisfaction? Develop positive relationships, and ultimately you will create lasting business results for your organization.
Resources to continue building strong relationships
Ready to improve your work relationships? Follow our Driving Digital Transformation series to hear from today’s industry thought leaders who have been there, done that, and are sharing what they've learned along the way. Also, be sure to catch our related on-demand webinar recording.
*Written in partnership with Amy Franko, Author of The Modern Seller; B2B Sales Consulting & Training
The information provided on this page does not, and is not intended to constitute legal or financial advice and is for general informational purposes only. The content is provided “as-is”; no representations are made that the content is error free.