Oct 20, 201401:38 PMMind Your Business
with Corey Chambas
The value of relationships
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Every weekend when I bike along a portion of the local trail, I get stopped and asked to show my trail pass. At first this was a source of frustration, as I am somewhat obsessed with tracking my average speed, and this slows me down.
After a couple of times, I asked the guy if he remembered me from the previous week and we struck up a conversation. Before we parted, I asked him his name, and he had mine from looking at my trail pass. The next weekend as I approached him, instead of getting frustrated, I called out, “Hey Ken, it’s Corey,” and he waved me by as he said hello. We had built a relationship.
While this is an example of an informal relationship, there are much more significant benefits to developing strong relationships with people you interact with in the more formal work world. The most obvious example involves clients. With good client relationships comes loyalty and better profitability for any business. These relationships and loyalty can then lead to new client referrals and the ability to cross-sell additional products or services. They also provide the ability to be competitive on price while not necessarily having to be the lowest cost provider. If clients value the relationship, they don’t focus strictly on the cheapest price.
Another overlooked benefit of strong relationships is getting the benefit of the doubt from the client if something goes awry. An example of this came up recently when one of our clients was upset about a situation that had occurred. The client escalated things and wanted to meet with me to talk about what had happened.
At first the client was very upset and was even talking about changing banks. But after talking through the situation and being able to vent her frustrations to me, she left satisfied and content with leaving her accounts with us. We even ended on a very positive note, exchanging stories about our kids and catching up about our families. That’s the value of having had a long-term relationship with this client. Without it, she would have simply left and not given me the opportunity to sit down, talk with her, and ultimately save the relationship.
The client side may be obvious, but there’s also value to investing in vendor/supplier relationships. Even though you are the client in that situation, working to develop a positive relationship with this business partner can pay dividends.