Building Business Relationships

Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003

From problem to competitive bid

When some customers have problems they can take from 3 months to 2 years to address it.  Especially if you have to go through a competitive bid process. The best thing you can do for your business and your customers is to build relationships that allow you to provide solutions without having the work go to bid.

A difficult proposition in some industries, but very possible. What follows is a simplified view of the competitive process from a customers prospective:

How many things could have changed since the customer first identified the problem?  How much damage has been done?

The only way to secure this work and solve the customers problem is to be involved with that customer as a trusted source, since day one. So many things can go wrong when experts are not involved -- obviously customers wouldn't have problems you can solve if they were experts in what you do.  Nothing guarantees correct problem definitions, they aren't addressing symptoms, and many other mistakes can run this process out months.

This is why the principles of strategic business relationships are so important. Having strong ties to customer, properly utilized, can put your business in the right place at the right time. You'll secure more work and solve customers problems before they cause long term damage.

Executives, key managers, and leaders in business to business companies can learn how to benefit from business relationships with a subscription to Applying Strategic Relations  To learn more about subscribing visit

Why wait for your customers to post a competitive bid may not even win, when you can be there when they need you. Ask yourself, "What skills do you need to get closer to customers and solve their problems sooner than later?"

Justin Hitt helps executive build stronger relationships that can increase profits and create loyal customers. For more information visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (276) 254-8747

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Don't ostracize customers and employees if you want profits

ostracize: Word of the Day. ostracize [ Word of the Day]

A business with poor business relationships ostracizes customers and employees by ignoring their needs. Often these companies go further to ruin the relationship by second guessing instead of surveying the needs of groups they should be serving. This leaves these businesses without the financial and other resources necessary for stability.

Companies with strong business relationships invite customers and employees to share feedback, concerns, and even involve them in the creation of policy relating to the services provided. Anywhere you interact with a customer or employee is a point where you can learn from them.  Companies following strategic relations grow steadily while building a significant profit base.

To learn how to apply strategic relations to improve business relationships, enter your subscription to Applying Strategic Relations -- receive full access to exclusive insights you can turn to profits in your business today.

Justin Hitt helps executive build stronger relationships that can increase profits and create loyal customers. For more information visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (276) 254-8747

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Relationship building examples using a web log

You want to stay in touch with customers, even provide a personal style of communications that builds trust and credibility for your organization. Perhaps a web log is one solution to turn a impersonal website into a relationship building tool.

Here are several relationship building examples using a web logs:

  1. Highlight positive product review in trade media publications.  Bring important news to your customers attention, scan trade publications and make sure they see everything written about your company. The third party references create credibility as they tend to be seen as implied endorsements.
  2. Feature product related tips that help customers get more from their purchase.  Help your customers achieve a return on investment with their purchase without cutting into your bottom line. Combine a web log with search tools and your website becomes a simple knowledge base. Letting customers search through these tips improves their experience with your product.
  3. Provide executive commentary on current news or industry events.  Your shareholders and the media may be interested in what you have to say about current events that influence your business. You'll want to pass the comments through legal and follow the corporate communications strategy, but you'll reach more people and stay visible.
  4. Invite open discussion about uses for your product or services.  Extend the reach of your marketing department with informative short articles about the solutions your company provides. Invite feedback from resellers and vendors, help them tune their sales skills to move more of what you offer.
  5. Install web log tools with business partners and post comments to an Extranet.  Most publishing software includes a news collection tool which allows you to exchange headlines with business partners. Create topical channels of information, exchange ideas and share information necessary to improve your value to customers. Web logs provide inherent linking characteristics that improve navigation. (I recommend Radio UserLand, but other tools are available.)
  6. Post short announcements from the perspective of different user types.  Engineers need different information than end-users, provide channels of technical information that serves the needs of one group actually written by peers in the industry. This could be as simple as pointing out an interesting trend then linking to it.
  7. Channel information of value to customer automatically.  If you are an information provider or provide research to customers, then web logs help deliver this information in a more automated manner. Use XML-RPC and SOAP to provide pull headlines for mobile devices, websites, and other information tools.

Can you think of more ways a business to business company can use web logs to build business relationships?  If so, post your comments, and share the ideas with your team. You will be surprised how flexible new publishing tools can be today (and how low the costs are to implement.)

Justin Hitt teaches executives how to create strong business relationships that can increase profits while improving customer loyalty. To learn more about business relationships visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (276) 254-8747

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Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:30:27 PM.

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