Two things in life are certain – death and taxes. Another certainty is that in a service business, if your people don’t have good relationship building skills everything will suffer, resulting in poorer performance. It is easy to overlook the development of these skills in your people and focus only on what they know and how technically good they are.
This is particularly the case in the middle of a global crisis. If you think about it, you will have in mind businesses who have treated their customers/clients well during this time and those that haven’t – that is about the culture of the company and the people, rather than specifically what they offer as a product or service.
Exceptional professional relationship skills have many benefits. Companies and firms who demonstrate them stand out from the crowd and have a competitive advantage.
The 5 key benefits of your people being good at relationship building
- Keeps existing clients loyal so they are less likely to move if they come across a competitor who may be offering a lower fee.
- Builds client trust so they are more likely to talk to you about other challenges they have, potentially leading to more work for you or other parts of your business.
- Makes clients more likely to recommend your company/firm to others, so you win more business more easily.
- Retains employees as it is a more pleasant place to work. Improved communication and transparency leads to increased career opportunities.
- Improves team working as there is greater trust between colleagues so collaboration becomes easier.
How is your organisation doing?
It feels intangible – how do you judge how good your people are at building relationships? Here are some easy ways to examine this either by assessing individuals, a team or a division.
- Are clients retained? What is the average lifespan of a client? If it is an annual service you offer, are they returning each year?
- Are clients expanding the work they give you? How does the average value of a client grow (or not!) over time?
- Are you receiving client referrals?
- Do your people attend networking events and over time generate useful contacts, whether that be direct clients or referrers?
- What is your staff retention like? What do people give as reasons for leaving at exit interviews? Are these related to team discord or lack of career progression?
Exploring these aspects will help to give you an idea of how your company is doing in terms of relationships. Good relationships facilitate positive happenings, in fact they are pivotal and they can make difficult situations easier to handle.
What your people need to be good at
I tackle this in some depth in my free downloadable guide. However, fundamentally your people need to be good at:
- Communicating themselves credibly.
- Building trust.
- Engaging effectively with others over time to build positive professional relationships.
I hope the above guide will be helpful, if you wish to discuss your team’s current situation, do get in touch.