Best Practices for Managing Business Relationships

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For nearly 20 years, Amber O’Brien has been managing complex, service-led opportunities focused on helping clients solve their toughest business challenges. As a Senior Business Development Manager at BOWEN Group, Amber recognizes that building strong and lasting business relationships is crucial to the success of any business. She shares her insights on best practices for managing business relationships successfully.

No company is isolated in the world of business. Relationships with clients, contractors and other stakeholders are the foundation for new business opportunities. Regardless of its size, a company is part of a business network, often relying on its brand recognition and reputation to grow. Amber emphasizes that having long-standing clients represents the quality of work that she does and the relationships that she builds.

“My main job is to talk to clients, understand their challenges and connect with them on an authentic level. I want to understand who they are, what makes them tick, what they like about the environment that they are in, then let the conversation naturally go where it needs to go. When they talk about their challenges, my goal is to offer possible solutions and educate them on what resources are available.”

Amber also notes that it is essential to give her clients space to decide whether they need her services now or in the future. Pushing them to make a decision will come across as an aggressive sales pitch. Sometimes they do not need her support to achieve their goals right away, but maybe there is somebody else in their network who can potentially use BOWEN’s services. The greatest compliment in business is a referral.

“In our business, many times clients become candidates and candidates become clients; therefore, it is important to maintain our brand reputation on both sides. We want BOWEN’s clients and candidates to stay loyal to our brand – having us top of mind whenever they need recruitment services. Nurturing authentic business relationships is what helps our brand reputation.”

Here are Amber’s top five approaches for successful business relationships in today’s professional world:

  1. Make meaningful connections – be willing to get to know people, share experiences and learn about each other’s story.
  2. Consistency and follow-through – if you say you will, be sure to deliver. Keeping your word is a matter of integrity. It builds trust and reliability.
  3. Transparency – keep your clients and colleagues up to date with where things are at. People can tell when something feels wrong. Be honest about everything that is going on. That way, clients can make the best decision going forward.
  4. Have a good team behind you – let people know that they can always rely on you. If you do not know the answer, find the right resources to assist them.
  5. Be authentic – remember, you are not only building your company’s brand, but you are also building your own. Be as helpful and knowledgeable as possible.

When maintaining successful relationships, think outside the box. Amber believes that giving her clients a little bit extra, especially in challenging times, is key to future relationships. “We do not stop communicating with our clients just because they are not bringing any business at that moment. We still need to maintain the relationship, because in difficult times like we are all experiencing right now, we know the economy will come back, and our clients will remember the people that supported and cared for them and offered them a little more. Doing a little extra makes people think about you when they need your services.”