Business Relationship Building for Win/Win Outcomes
Business Relationship Building is a real and powerful goal in business. Unfortunately many simply fail or don’t quite ‘pull it off’. Before delving into this topic lets define what a Business relationship is and what a win/win outcome is:
A Business Relationship is where one or more parties are in contact and communication for a business purpose or outcome. The nature of the relationship is often one of collaboration and sharing of resources, ideas or strengths. Often, the businesses involved are not in direct competition with each other but share a similar type of client.
For example, a business (Business A) has a network of corporate clients and a business (Business B) has a product that appeals to corporate clients. A potential relationship could be created between these 2 types of businesses when Business A appears helpful to their clients for featuring or highlighting Business B’s product.
A win/win outcome is where their are benefits for all parties that participate in a particular business relationship or activity. Therefore these types of outcomes are based on the needs of those businesses that are involved.
For the above example given between Businesses A and B, the win outcome for Business A is they are able to add value to what they already do for their clients. This will give them a point of difference to their competitors and make them more memorable to their clients. The win outcome for Business B is they have their product introduced to their ideal client type with an endorsement from Business A. The clients of Business A trust them and therefore this trust is transferred to Business B as a result of the support and recommendation of Business A.
So how do you go about Business Relationship Building?
Read on as we outline:
- Who to approach for Business Relationship Building?
- How to approach Business Relationship Building?
- How to achieve Win/Win Outcomes in Business Relationship Building?
Who to approach for Business Relationship Building?
It is always more successful to approach people in business that you already have a business relationship with. It is definitely still possible if you are unknown however do be mindful that they need to get to know you and your business to build trust before you can move forward with any business activity or partnership.
Equally, when approaching those you know, do not take for granted that because they know you that they will be interested in developing a business relationship further.
Let’s return to our Business A and B example. Business A is approaching Business B. Business A is already familiar with the product of Business B and therefore believes working together would be beneficial because they know both businesses share the same type of client, the quality of the product matches the branding and customer service standards of Business A and both brand values align.
When approaching a business contact to form a new or extended business relationship (therefore the role of Business A from the above example) it is essential to know the business you are approaching and what they do. Therefore make sure you do appropriate research. Know it is a good match and be able to articulate the reasons why particularly from Business B’s point of view. Be able to answer why it would it be a win for them. However don’t ‘bull doze’ them with this just explain you believe it would be a win/win relationship and would like the opportunity to discuss this.
How to Approach Business Relationship Building?
Never take a business contact by surprise. What I mean is, if you’re meeting a contact to discuss an idea such as a new business relationship or partnership then let them know that is your intention and ask if they would be interested to discuss?
Always, always, always allow enough space for the business contact you are approaching to ask questions and be able to have time to think over the idea. Don’t create a situation where they feel trapped. If your idea is appealing enough and you have articulated it clearly they will respond if they are interested.
How to Achieve Win/Win Outcomes in Business Relationship Building?
Most importantly, listen to the needs of the business contact you are approaching. In case you ‘got it wrong’ about what their needs are.
Understand sometimes timing isn’t right and be able to walk away if the win/win outcome cannot be achieved.
When you do have a successful interest and agreement clearly outline what the relationship is:
- Intended Outcomes
- Responsibilities of each business involved
- Time frame
As a general rule of thumb, where appropriate:
- For known contacts, I suggest a 12 month time frame with a 3 month review to check in.
- For unknown contacts, I suggest a 3 month time frame with a 1 month review to check in.
Follow these ideas and you will enter into new business relationships and partnerships with confidence and clarity and therefore success.