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, October 07, 2003

Conveying the meaning of relationships in business

I frequently see marketing materials and news releases boasting about the stronger relationships gained by using product A or method B-- most of these materials are unclear about what exactly that means.

While it is fine to use the "relationship" word in your marketing materials, but define for your audience what it means to the reader. When I tell you I can help executives build stronger business relationships, what is it that I really mean?

Stronger relationships mean less friction in the decision making process-- not blind acceptance, but a system that is conducive to accomplishing common objectives.

If you want stronger customer relationships, then what exactly does that mean to your company?  Using vague and general statements are useless if you expect results. Here are some examples of statements that might describe a customer relationship:

Instead of the generic stronger customer relationship, you should describe the specific desired result of such state-- include both points of measure and a period for reevaluation. The period can be implied.

Your statements will be more specific for internal measures, less specific for customer communications.

In marketing copy it is better to say, "Product X will reduce customer turnover, increase repurchase, and lower acquisition costs" than "Product X improves customer relationships."  Relationships are measured by specific results produced.

Often relationships are described in slogans or mission statements-- while it is reasonable, this is only acceptable if the rest of your communications share specifically what this means. For example, to customers of the Center for Strategic Relations, helping executives build stronger business relationships is described as:

More quantifiable statements are used to describe internal objectives.  These objectives are achieved by customer realizing the external statements above. Internally to the consultants and staff of the Center this same message means:

The external and internal messages are only possible through executives with strong business relationships, but with specific statements the abstract concept of relationship is understood.  (At least more clearly presented.)

Before you describe the relationship value of your business to another, or internally that value to employees, think about the results produced. Relationship is a vague and often overused term that means different things in both context and audience. If you use a results oriented language you'll convey a message with specifics for action.

Justin Hitt, with over 10 years of experience in business to business executive relationships and strategic business intelligence; has reduced costs and improve customer loyalty for professional services and numerous other technology companies. Call +1 (877) 207-3798 or visit his website at

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Executives Minimize Risks That Affect Their Compensation (Summary)

Interesting insights on kinds of information sources used in making critical decisions as affected by the structure of their compensation package (University of Arkansas, Vikas Anand) included: (Study conducted on high-tech firms)

The two-stage study investigated compensation and information sources of 207 top executives in software manufacturing firms and a control group of 247 executives in non-high tech firms. First, CEOs were asked to describe the compensation packages of their top executives. In the second stage, these executives were surveyed about their information-seeking behavior.

Vikas Anand conducted this study with Luis Gomez-Mejia (professor of management at Arizona State) and former graduate student Paul Tiedet (University of Arkansas). Results were presented at the 2003 annual meeting of the Academy of Management in Seattle. Vikas Anand, assistant professor of management, Walton College of Business; (479) 575-6232;

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

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Last update: 04/18/2004; 3:08:45 AM.

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