Building Business Relationships

So you are in business and feel like the next step to get more clients is to spend more money on marketing right? 


Wrong.


It is important to develop new habits being a business owner that are geared towards positive growth for your company.


Many people argue what is the most important factor to determine who uses a service.


Is cost the most important?  No.


Is the ability to complete a job fastest most important?  No.


Is the ability to do the job the best most important?  No.


Is being likable the most important?  No.


Is trust the most important?  Yes.


Trust is everything in a relationship.  That doesn’t just include your work life, that will include your personal life.


When your customer trusts you, it has become more than just a job, it is now personal.  When something becomes personal things like pricing are not quite as impactful.  If you offer a service for 4500$ and another company offers the same service for 3000$ you may still acquire the job if you are trusted by the buyer.  In fact, if you are trusted you are more likely to get the job than the person who bids 3000$.  Many people will argue this with me, but anyone who has been in business long term will agree with this.


If you are bidding 10,000$ on a job and someone else is bidding 20,000$ on a job and the buyer doesn’t trust you - you probably aren’t getting the job.


If you are quoted 500$ to fix your car at a dealership you trust, or 300$ to fix your car at a mechanic shop that doesn’t sit well with your stomach when you walk in, do you feel better about your 300$ purchase?  The answer is probably not.  


Why do people spend more money on Kellogs than a generic brand?  Because the customer TRUSTS the brand.  Not because the product is any different, many times they are nearly the same.


Did you know when you price jobs too low, you risk losing trust from your potential customer?  


Remember this, good customers don’t brag about how cheap they get a service for.

Your 5 mile radius


We cover a video on YouTube referring to your 5 mile radius, the link for the video is here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL-SM2OeCwY


When you own a small company it is vital you become a local celebrity if you are in the service industry.  What does that mean?  It means when you go to a public place, you need to ensure people know who you are, without you having to tell them who you are.  When you achieve this you have branded yourself well.


Get involved with your local community.  Get out and do volunteer work when able.  Do more than just shoving products down people’s throat!


Why is your 5 mile radius important?  Because that is your home base.  It is vital that you are known in your local market because these are more than just customers, some of them are the people who may become involved with you on a personal level.  What does that mean and why do I mention this here?  Because these are the people who are most comfortable forming a relationship with you.


In Kemah, when I walk into a store, many of the people in the store will know who I am.  Some of them even know my children’s name.  Many of them know that my oldest son is autistic.  Many of them understand when he has a meltdown that he isn’t a bad kid, he just requires special attention.  


You see, relationships aren’t just advantageous for you, they are also advantageous for the other party.  


You will be surprised how many people your 5 mile radius will know.  The best feeling is when I get a call and someone says “yes I got your phone number from Greg (the local Judge) and need a quote for….”.  And yes I have had a local judge send me leads.  Why?  Because he used to be my boss and we kept in touch!


When you go on a 3 hour drive, do you just listen to music?  Or talk to your best friend?  Or do you run your business?


One thing I enjoy doing is reconnecting with people I have been in contact with regularly and asking them about their well being in general.  I genuinely care, so that makes it easier for me to do.  This is relationship building.


Building Rapport


Rapport sounds like “Rapoor” just fyi…


One thing I like to do with a new customer is invite them to lunch at their earliest convenience.  When you go to lunch don’t just talk about work, I am glad you are excited about what you do but going to lunch is more than just business, it’s relationship building.  Relationship building is where you have a personal connection with another individual for the common good of both parties.  You both should be looking for your best interests.  You will be surprised how many great friendships you can develop with a client.  


You will find some of your clients becoming better friends, than your friends you already have!  If that happens it is OK, you are just doing it right.


Your clients aren’t building a relationship with you because they want you to sell them every day.  They are building a relationship because like you, they want someone they can trust to take care of them.  And in return they take care of you by rewarding you with the work you are seeking.  


Linkedin


Linkedin is an unusual tool that I use regularly.  We have a video on this subject here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gy5xhwY4lWc&t=2s


The whole idea behind Linkedin is for people to stay connected.  Many times you will see people looking for a job, or people looking for help.  This is the reason Linkedin gains a lot of traction.  We have also found certain industries are more heavily involved with Linkedin than any other platform, especially in the industrial sector.


When you get on Linkedin and spam your entire friends list with a scripted message - this is a great way to set yourself up for failure.  You want to simply say “thanks for connecting with me” when someone accepts your friend's request and leaves it like that.


One resourceful way to use Linkedin is to message people you already have an existing relationship.  Like a former teacher, principal or BOSS.  These people you will have “rapport” with and they will be easier to talk with because they won’t feel like you are trying to sell them and they will more than likely want to be helpful (unless your former boss hates your guts, then scratch that).


One way I use Linkedin is I will talk to an employee at a company and many times they will help me get in front of who I need to speak with.  When they do this what is happening?  You are developing a relationship with an employee of a company you want as a customer!


Don’t confuse close friends and family as great relationships


Just because someone is your cousin and they own a restaurant, doesn’t mean they will be a good customer for you.  What I have found is people who are already my friend MAY not always be a great customer.  Sometimes they will “expect” a discount or “extra free labor”.  Don’t fall into that trap, if they don’t respect your business and the need for you to be profitable, they will not be a good fit for your business.  


When I mention relationship building, it is with people who only know you as what you are and what you do.  The personal side of it will come with time (like discussed earlier in this blog).


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