Strategic Relations Journal

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Brought to you by Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant. Thank you for reading.

Issue #43 -- July 28, 2002

A weekly journal about building stronger relationships in business. Subscription information is available at the end of this newsletter. Thank you for reading.

Today I share with you an article quite useful in a time when CEO?s are arrested on the front page, large ?example? companies fall into a rotten core, and the real honesty of hard working business leaders is completely ignored for the fashion of failure. While the news wails itself with negative statements that may influence your customers and employees, I share with you Ways to Maintain Strong Business Relationships in Times of Uncertainty.

The last few series of articles build up to the importance of consistency in relationships, especially business relationships. Last week we talked about the importance of prompt follow-up. Next week we will cover getting started with customer relationship management (CRM) return on investment. CRM is a tool useful to track relationships especially when properly implemented. Stay tuned, it's information useful to your business.

Over the last couple of week, I?ve been implementing those things I share with you. I know these ideas work in my own business; however, I'm really interested in learning about how these strategies apply in your business. For those subscribers that have been around for a while, you know my feeling about reading this newsletter and not taking any action.

Cordially yours,

Justin Hitt
Strategic Relations Consultant, Author & Speaker

Ps. Things worked our well with my merchant provider last week. In fact, I know the system is working now because orders are coming in daily for training products offered through I encouraging you to consider utilizing in-house training efforts -- investments in workforce education almost provide a 10-fold return on investment when provided consistently.

Ways to Maintain Strong Business Relationships in Times of Uncertainty

In times of uncertainty, stress is up and relationships suffer. Many companies make cuts based on hard numbers missing the soft immeasurable characteristics of strong relationships. Here are nine ways to improve and grow relationships even in times of uncertainty.

  1. Do not let the news get you down by sharing a positive message.

If your company closes a contract, does anything news worthy, make sure the message gets out. These positive messages are more likely to be printed in times of uncertainty, and draw people to your business. Share the good news.

  1. Train employees in the soft skills of empathy and listening.

In periods of economic trouble, it is hard to tell what problems your employees and customers may be facing. Now is the time for your employees to learn how to better handle these situations in their own life, as well as with those they work. One study of collection practices found that agents who were friendly and listened actually collected more money over agents who were assertive.

  1. Increase customer communications with educational messages useful to them.

Teach your customers how to get more out of your product, as well as how to make better buying decisions. When money is tight, you do not want to lose business to less expense or lower quality competitor, educate your customer why they should continue to buy your product. Give your customers the knowledge they need to select you and profit from it.

  1. Sit down with your employees periodically to document their concerns.

When companies adjust to available cash or other economic change employees notice, sometimes this causes false rumors. Register your employees concerns, suggestions, and feedback addressing the issues important to them and utilize any insights they may share. Involve your employees in addressing their concerns; give them a feeling of empowerment.

  1. Plan two moves ahead leveraging existing relationships to increase business.

Like in chess, if you find yourself in a bind then be as strategic as possible. Do not hide your problems; look at ways to address them to produce a best situation for the company?s long-term stability. Develop win-win situations to acquire necessary funding or to increase business.

  1. Enlist consultants only when their expertise is not found in your company.

Consultants are not a fix all tool for corporate toil. Look first for expertise inside your company before addressing issues with an outside firm. Only bring in consultants if your experts are to busy or you need some specific knowledge not found in your organization. Finally, use the consultant to train someone in your firm to solve the problem in the future if you expect it to return.

  1. Establish marketing partners to reduce your costs while reaching new prospects.

Working with other companies who want to reach the same market, (even your competitors) can reduce your short-term costs of acquiring new business. Look at ways to build on their successful campaigns or expand what currently works for you. If possible, share all costs 50/50 and choose partners that have a long-term appeal to enhancing the market demand for your product.

  1. Ask old customers to start buying from you again and find out why they stopped.

Contact all customers who have bought from you in the last 5 years to find out if they are still buying the type of products you sell. Find out why they stopped buying your product and invite them to purchase again. This is a great opportunity to clean up your database, further allowing your marketing department to target new customers.

  1. Leave your problems at work, sleep well, and know that stability comes with time.

It is bad enough that we take work home with us, but leave your problems at work. The last thing you need is trouble on the home front; do not concern yourself with business when you are with your family. Relax, enjoy them, and you will return to work to new vigor and energy for change.

I go into more detail on tips 7 and 8 in the ?Cultivating Your Best Customers? report, available now at or write mailto:cultivate-toptenat for more information.

Economics is cyclical; something businesses have to live with, but relationships on the other hand must remain consistent at all times. Even if a company is having financial trouble, it does not mean you can provide any less than when you are at your best. I am not saying that you need to be emotionless or have any concerns, just a generally positive outlook.

Science has proven being upset about something for a long period is actually damaging to your health. Being realistic about facing a circumstance, then do your best to improve it with an attitude of knowing, actually improves moral and increases your chances of success. The pessimist might be right, but the optimist enjoys producing results to the contrary.

In times of uncertainty, your customers will want a company that can continue to delivery as well as help them improve their results. If you are able to help your customers when times are bad, then they will remember you during recovery. The same goes for your employees, news of layoffs concern everyone.

The strategies outlined here will help you reduce fears and build stronger long-term prosperity for all the individuals you meet in the course of business. Now get out there, stabilize your economy, and build those relationships.

Justin Hitt, a strategic relations consultant, author, and speaker. Learn more about tracking and developing customer relationships with the 27 Ways to CRM Return on Investment (Tool Kit) available at

© 2002 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.

Questions & Answers

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>> Development has started on my next book ?Magic 1% Principles of Implementation and Growth? which will be available at the end of September. This book addresses a concern by a number of customers in implementing some of these strategies. Many of the exercises I prescribe develop sometimes-abstract ideas -- this book will help you implement them. If you're interested in more information, email mailto:magic-oneat

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© 2002 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved. Rights granted to forward, via electronic medium, this document in whole as long as the subscription and copyright portions remain intact. Dept HIP,PO Box 3123, Martinsville, VA 24115.

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