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Defining a productive and successful business relationship
If you say you are going to do something either as the client or the service provider/vendor make sure that you do it! Most executives, buyers are skeptical that a sales professional will do what they say they will do, when and in the manner promised. Be known for being either an organization or sales professional who is valued because they deliver on their promises, in the time frame and at the agreed price.
It is often forgotten, on purpose, to outline what both parties expectations are. Clear communications between whoever is making the promises with whoever is tasked with delivering on those expectations. i.e. Quantity, quality, dates, service, follow up. With big companies, it is often drawn out as an implementation plan or shown as an SLA -- Service Level Agreement -- and updated frequently to show the HOW both parties will define successful delivery and/or completion.
UNDER PROMISE+OVER DELIVER
Often the company offering the product or service allows its representatives to blindly make promises without comprehending shortcomings i.e. inventory, personnel, scheduling, quality. Don't allow anyone who represents you as either the seller or buyer to bait and switch. On the flip side: be apprehensive of clients who make promises on huge volumes that dictate discounts and reality is far below projections. It shouldn't be left up to the seller to accept honoring lower prices on higher volumes without the expectation that the prices will reflect the correction required until the volumes are met, or agreement is made on how that will be handled/communicated/
The perfect business relationship is when both parties respect and honor their commitment. Many think that is one-sided with the buyer in the power position. However, a respectful business relationship ensures that the buyer pays promptly under the terms that is agreed upon. The value of a buyer can be undermined by late payments or having to be hounded for payment which drains resources and distracts from the forward momentum initiated by agreeing to do business together. Having said that, the seller has to ensure that its vendors are paid promptly to avoid a service freeze due to timely payments.
A better, stronger business relationship is when both parties understand their role, lay out the expectations, AND deliver on their commitments. If the seller is a start up, an internal road map is drawn to visualize how they get from Point A - a sale to Point B - being paid. All the nuances in between should never be explained to a customer because showing customers that you are an organization that takes its customers seriously and ensure that whoever is selling for them is set up for success.
This article was originally posted as a response on Alignable to the question:
What do you feel helps build strong business relationships with clients?
Jeannette imparts wisdom and sales savviness on her blog optioneerJM where she has developed a reputation with her audience to share helpful answers for business.