Monday, July 21, 2003
Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Focus is a trait of successful executives with strong business relationships. In everything they do they have a clear objective, desired outcome, and this produces a clear idea of what is to be accomplished. You can gain focus in business relationships by:
- Identifying key objectives of the business relationship. You already have enough responsibilities, why add relationships that don't contribute to reaching your business objectives. Consider this, any new relationships that doesn't (a) progress the objectives of existing relationships, (b) bring you closer to business objectives, or (c) advance your personal well being; takes away from those objectives!
- Defining the criteria of membership to include constructive people. Look for those people who can improve the relationship. Define membership criteria around inclusion and contribution, over exclusion. The most unlikely people have attributes that can improve your progress and help you reach the groups objectives more quickly.
- Outlining key goals by specific periods. Small productive accomplishments build big successes; focus on three key goals over a specific period of time. Your period can be quarterly, monthly, or even weekly depending on the objectives of the relationship. These key goals represent a scope for action to guide every effort over that period toward a specific desired result.
- Regularly meet to discuss objectives, accomplishments, and action oriented goals. Meet weekly or monthly (a time incremental to the period of measure) to discuss aspects of the relationship. These meetings don't need to be drawn out or formal, it can be as easy as a conference call or group discussion on the corporate intranet. The primary purpose of these meetings is to discussion objectives, accomplishments, and action oriented goals with each relationship partner.
- Removing unfocused relationship partners quickly. "A bad apple spoils the bunch" If any one of your relationship partners is constantly taking the group away from its objectives, then have them reassigned or removed immediately. Delays at work spill over into your personal relationships, design work activities for success by regularly removing any blockades of unproductive behavior.
- Removing yourself from the relationship if you are no longer a fit. In the same responsibility of removing others who are not constructive to the business relationship, you must know when it is your time to leave. If you are not benefiting from the relationship, nor providing value to fellow members, then it may be time for you to focus on something else.
- Using common terms and knowing their meanings. Your business may have certain terminology that facilitates the understanding of topics being addressed. It is your responsibility to understand these terms and use them constructively. Considering your audience and use terms the largest majority of the group will understand.
- Clearly defining relationship objectives in terms of benefit to all parties involved. Depending on the relationship type you may already have formal methods of documenting relationship objectives -- whether contract, bylaws, or a letter of understanding. The key for focus in a business relationship is to have one description of group objectives that everyone follows.
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 (877) 207-3798
Last update: 04/18/2004; 3:05:27 AM.