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How To Build Authentic Business Relationships: 10 Tips

You can’t operate a business without engaging people, and growing your company starts with establishing meaningful connections with others. Whether you’re building relationships with prospective clients, existing clients, vendors or other local business leaders, you should aim to connect with them on a deeper level. How can you show the people you do business with that you genuinely care?

These 10 tips have been provided by members of Forbes Business Council who share their own strategies for building business relationships that last.


1. Identify How You Can Provide Additional Value
“Find common ground and identify how you can add value with your time, resources, connections or expertise. Along with establishing a cadence of check-ins to connect (like setting reminders), these are all important to building authentic relationships.” – Sindhu Kutty

2. Have Excellent Customer Service
“Customer service is the No. 1 free strategy for growth and relationship building. Work on perfecting every interaction or moment of truth with your customers to leave them as raving fans about your business. Advertising is no longer as powerful as it once was. A referral army of fans that experience above-average interactions will go out of their way to grow your business.” – Shaz Memon

3. Partner With Other Businesses
“Honor your customers and show them your appreciation—don’t just speak the words. Add value by making them see how much you care. Additionally, support and connect with local businesses that feed one another or work well together. Think of businesses that you love, seek out their owners and find creative ways to bundle yourselves together because there is power in numbers!” – Hoda Mahmoodzadegan

4. Focus On Mutual Success
“Focus on the success of your clients and be honest. No one wants to work with someone who is in it only for themselves. The best business relationships we have happened when we focused on mutual success and trust. Your clients will know that when times get tough, you’ll be in it together.” – Scott Wassmer

5. Build Trust And Establish Credibility
“The key to relationship building is trust and credibility. Authenticity is a given. At my company, we treat every single client and project like our own. We are absolutely committed to their success, and we walk the talk. If we meet a prospective client that might benefit from another connection, we make an introduction. That’s good old-fashioned networking. What goes around, comes around.” – Angela Delmedico

6. Focus On Relational Value, Not Transactional Value
“Cultivate your network and relationships each day. Don’t approach people in a transactional nature. Meet with them or call periodically. Get to know their needs, values and what drives them. Ask yourself, ‘How can I be of service and value to them?’ Remember, it isn’t about you but about them. They will remember how you made them feel.” – David Crean

7. Treat Clients Like Your Friends And Family
“People buy from people they like. Treat them like you would treat your friends and family. Be yourself, be vulnerable and show a personal interest in your client in addition to the business value that you already offer.” – Marielle Dellemijn

8. Put Your Customer First
“Put your customer first even if it costs you to do so in the short run. In the long run, your customer will remember what you did, and you putting them first will pay off handsomely over the long term.” – Harris Kaplan

9. Stay True To Your Business Values
“Clear and consistent business and personal core values help align all stakeholders, both internal and external. Being willing to make decisions even when you lose money for your values communicates a strong brand promise and ensures a shared vision. The shared vision and aligned values serve as the basis of strong relationships with your employees—and with the right customers, prospects and other peers.” – Victoria Lakers

10. Create A Valuable Online Presence
“Every relationship starts with an introduction, and sometimes for businesses, this is the hardest step. I’m a believer in an inbound approach. It’s much easier to build a relationship when a visitor has discovered you from something valuable like a blog or social media that provides expert insight. Play to your strengths. Do you want to catch flies with honey or do you want to run around with a net?” – James Parsons, Content Powered


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