Every company strives to serve its clients or customers to the best of its ability. The opportunity to do just that – regardless of the industry – begins with one thing: A relationship.

Where there’s an authentic relationship, there’s trust and open communication. And those types of relationships allow you to truly understand a client and anticipate their needs. Here are three key steps that can help you forge the kinds of authentic and prosperous relationships that are critical to business success.

  1. Preparation – Whether you’re first contact is in person or over the phone, preparation is key to your ability to be seen as a solutions-oriented advisor. Find out whatever you can about the potential client prior to your meeting. Your preparation and understanding demonstrate your professionalism and commitment, while helping you identify opportunities early.
  2. Observation/Investigation – Moving relationships forward requires equal parts investigation and observation. So much of your first impression is influenced by your ability to ask fact-finding questions in a conversational way. Always remember to use open-ended questions that begin with:
    • Tell me about
    • Tell me more
    • Explain
    • Describe
    • Elaborate
    • Why
    • How
  3. Action – The final step is doing what it takes to get the business. Whether following up after an initial contact or an interview, focus on moving the sales process forward. Perfect your ability to move to the next step by making initial recommendations that:
    • Include practical solutions supported by strategies
    • Link benefits to needs
    • Use the client’s words, “Based on what you have told me…”

Whatever you do, remember to place yourself in the client’s shoes. Relationships breed understanding. Understanding breeds success.

What are some of the challenges you face in establishing new business relationships? Let us know what’s worked for you in the – and what hasn’t – in the comments section below. You may also tweet us your thoughts on Twitter through #mcgblog.

 

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