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Small Business Help Line



Question: How do relationships affect your profit margin?

Answer:

Professional relationships are the cornerstone of all successful business. Regardless of the quality of your product, you must develop a professional relationship with your clients in order to keep them and do business with them in the future.

Here are the five basic steps to help you build your business and keep it thriving by building professional relationships.

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Never ask yourself, “What’s in it for me?”

The most important key to creating long-term professional relationships is your ability to provide value to the relationship. In order to provide value to the relationship, you must take the focus off yourself. Never enter into an association with another person thinking of what you can get out of it; think of what you can bring to the relationship and how you can be of assistance to others. Listen for what the other person is saying they need, and work to help them achieve their needs.



Have a sincere interest in others.

You must have a sincere interest in others and helping them achieve their needs. You cannot fake sincerity. Your ultimate goal should be helping that person meet their end result, not what the end result will bring for you. Your interest in others needs to be genuine. If it isn’t, you will not develop the trust a real professional relationship requires. To help you develop a sincere interest in others, you must keep the focus on them. Question them about their needs, desires, profession, and if appropriate, about their family. Make the other party the priority of the conversation.



Provide open, honest communication.

In this day and age, it can be difficult to find people who communicate openly and honestly. This has been seen in the recent meltdowns of many corporations and their chief executive officers ending up in jail. Others don’t communicate openly because they are afraid they will say something that the other person does not want to hear. It’s important you always provide honest communication, otherwise your professional relationship will never develop. Many individuals are surrounded by colleagues, clients and vendors that are so busy saying what they think others want to hear, they fail to establish themselves. If you don’t express yourself honestly, you can never establish your own character, your own self-worth and bring value to the relationship. Never say anything that is not true or make any promises you cannot deliver. If you do, your relationship will be very hard to ever get back on track. By making promises you can’t meet or telling half-truths or outright lies, you will only project to the other party that you are not trustworthy or dependable. Being open and honest with people does not mean the domination of a conversation, nor does it mean under-serving them. It means being true to your word, being able to deliver what you promise, and bringing value to the relationship.



Always treat others with respect.

No one likes to be talked down to or treated in a disrespectful manner. Always make sure when you are conversing with others that you respect their ideas, thoughts and needs. It is not important you agree with their perspective. It is important that you listen, understand and develop respect for their position.



Adopt a positive, professional attitude.

You control your attitude, so why have anything but a positive disposition? With a positive demeanor, you will develop allies, achieve more professionally and you will be happier, healthier and more successful. We all know people who view life as a constant obstacle course and who are filled with negativity and cynicism. Not only are they exhausting to be around, but these individuals do not achieve as much as those who remain positive and upbeat. There will always be days where stress and unexpected issues develop. Your ability to view these situations as opportunities rather than obstacles will establish yourself as someone who is strong of character and fitting of the trust of a professional relationship. No one wants to support, or develop relationships with, those who drain energy and spread negativity.

By following these five rules, you will be putting efforts into developing solid, long-term relationships that will be beneficial to others. As you help others, you will soon experience the rewards of your efforts twofold due to the law of reciprocity: what you give, you get back.


Written by Michael Swenson, a San Diego-based stage entertainer and board certified hypnotherapist.

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