Building Business Relationships

Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Friday, July 25, 2003

Show your respect and just pay attention

BACK-CHANNELING AND MULTI-TASKING IN BUSINESS MEETINGS. The process of carrying on secondary 'side-bar' conversations via IM, email and other written media while someone holds forth at the front of the room.. [Roland Tanglao: KLogs]

Dave Polland has some interesting comments about multi-tasking and back-channeling in meeting environments. I humbly disagree that this type of communications is constructive, but found his article has some great background on the topic. Side conversations during a meeting or any other forum isn't constructive to a meeting objectives-- but could be in rare situations.

Points I'd like to make on this topic:

  1. Side conversations are less constructive the more real-time a conversation becomes.  Side discussions between a group of individuals participating in an only forum is more appropriate than speaking on your cell phone during a private meeting. Back-channeling and multi-tasking may have their place, but not in real-time communications, unless incorporated into interaction, feedback, or response.
  2. When someone is speaking, you should pay attention or excuse yourself.  Often these sider conversations start when the topic material isn't of interest to the audience or presented in an uninteresting way. If you don't need to be at the meeting, then go, if you have a more constructive use of your time then excuse yourself. Interrupting those around you is rude.
  3. Order contributes to a groups experience in multi-way communications.  For thousands of years we developed parliamentary procedure that insured all parties got equal time to present and approve decisions. While todays meetings have broken down in value, some method of discussion improves the audience experience.
  4. You can't pay attention to any one thing doing many things.  Just as people are less capable of talking on a cell phone while driving, if you pay attention to multiple interactive tasks, then each task suffers. I often wonder if Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) was a result of humans trying to do to many things or having the expectation they should accomplish many things.
  5. Multi-tasking is being unorganized and unfocused.  There is a difference between doing two things at the same time, and alternating between two things. You should always be working on your most important task, unless you are delayed on that task, then work on the second most important. It's one or the other at any moment, not both.
  6. Interruptions of any type are unproductive to delivering value.  Like children talking in the back of the classroom, side conversations disturb others who are interested in the main topic. Practice restraint and carry on these activities on your own time.
  7. Age is not a determining factor when it comes to task complexity.  Older people are just as capable of doing more than one things at a time as young people. They also have better discretion to do what is most important than be worried about doing everything. (Differences can be found in life exposure to environmental noise i.e. television, video games, ... as a percentage of life.)

Where this type of communications can be constructive:

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 (877) 207-3798

8:58:21 PM    Join Newsletter

First impressions in business relationships

Following the methods of the 8 Relationship Realms, you have hundreds, maybe thousands of opportunity for first impressions in business relationships. As an executive it sets the precedence for how employees respect you, or customers take you seriously.

Not all these first impressions are set by you personally. In fact, each interaction your employees have with customers, business partners, or the general community around them constitutes a first impression on your company's good name.

Managing first impressions:
(Special note:  An interaction can include face-to-face, a written communication, a visit to your website, event attendance, or any other means exchanging information with a customer, employee, or strategic partner.)

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 (877) 207-3798

4:08:07 PM    Join Newsletter

Shoppers Demand Decent Design (Abstract)

Your website is important to sales. While this report regards retail shoppers, one has to assume some carry-over to B2B sales. Retailing: Shoppers Demand Decent Design [B2Blog]

Dave over at B2Blog brought this report to my attention, he's got a great point that much of the report could translate to improvements in B2B website sales. I really enjoy his comments on B2B websites and appreciate his technical insights.

According to Robyn Greenspan's original article (abstracted here), "First impressions are very important to on-line shoppers."  This shouldn't be a surprise, first impressions are very important to every aspect of a business relationship.

While the original article is from a retailing prospective, these factors apply to the B2B world. Consider these facts in your website design:

This article continues to compare these findings with those of other reports looking at similar factors. The overall consistencies were staggering, you don't need a slick site as much as one easy for visitors to find exactly what they want.

One participant described their preference for sites designed "by people who want to get you the information that you need."  Most respondents preferred a polished, professional look that creates a trustworthy feel (not overly slick.)

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

3:42:26 PM    Join Newsletter

Turn a gray cloud into a golden media opportunity

Planet PDF: Adobe's Robert McDaniels responds (again) to Nielsen criticisms of PDF. "Many of the "PDF Usability Crimes" you cite have nothing to do with Acrobat or PDF but are the result of poor design choices. [elearningpost]

When experts disagree, they both can get positive news coverage. Always consider how constructive dialog with those who put down your products or services can be turned into something to promote your organization. Especially when the media is interested, often they will give equal coverage to both sides of the story as you hash out the point at hand.

Note the Orbitz website crash blamed on Oracle, that whole situation could have been handled better. For Orbitz to have this problem so soon after a change in IT leadership and to blame everything on Oracle, it makes both parties look at fault. All this happens while Oracle presses forward with heavy bidding for PeopleSoft.

How would you have handled either situation? Oracle just pressed on, warning of an unrelated security flaw and posting more news about their PeopleSoft adventure-- they didn't do anything out of the ordinary to address the situation. McDaniels pointed out common failures in other document formats and published a point-by-point bulletin addressing concerns.

It doesn't matter as much what they do for the media, but what would you do for your customers?

How to turn poor media coverage, a difference of opinion, or a major product failure into a gold mine:

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 (877) 207-3798

12:24:02 AM    Join Newsletter

Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:32:59 PM.

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