There is a whole range of relationship that exists behind the common retail-client relationship. Called B2B or business-to-business, this relationship is founded on the exchange of products, services, and information between businesses. For example, a thriving restaurant business needs a source of fruits and vegetables. If you’re in the business of selling fruits and vegetables, you can both enter into an agreement of supply.
There are many considerations worth noting when it comes to partnering with another business. Even something as simple as the use of a truck loading conveyor can make or break a business agreement. Why? You want to make sure that your supplier is taking good care of the items you’re purchasing from them. The use of a loading conveyor will ensure that fragile items are being handled with care and that food products are free from contaminants that can arise from human handling.
Think of building B2B relationships as developing friendships. First, you need to be nice to your newfound friends. Next, you need to bring value to the relationship. Lastly, you need to always keep in touch.
Know Who You Are and What You Can Offer
What do you offer your potential partners? What is your brand known for? Do you have high-quality products and services? Are you affordable? There has to be something that separates you from your competitors. A lot of businesses are going to offer the same products and services to your clients. Make partnering with you beneficial for your clients.
Start Relationship at the Top
It is easier for employees from both companies to develop good working relationships if their managers, owners, and executives have meaningful professional partnerships. That relationship will trickle down to the employees, allowing them to work harmoniously to find common ground and work toward their goals.
Listen to Suggestions and Complaints
The rule in every relationship—friendship, romantic, and business relationships—is to listen. What are your customers saying about your products and services? Do they have complaints? Do they have suggestions to make the operations and logistics more convenient? If you get offended by the mere mention of the word suggestion or complaint, you’ve got to take your pride down a notch. Building meaningful relationships in business is a balancing act of listening and enacting changes.
Whatever happened to responding to messages as soon as you get them? Would you believe that many companies still fail at responding to inquiries immediately? While technology advances, so does your ability to receive messages and answer to them instantaneously. If you fail to respond to clients, they may think that you don’t value the relationship you have with them. In an instant, you can lose their trust and the chance of doing business with them.
How hard is it to say, “No, we don’t have it”? The problem with some suppliers is: Because they want to keep their partners from checking out the competition, they couldn’t even be honest that they lack some of the items or services they need. It is perfectly okay for your partners to seek suppliers for their other needs. What’s not okay is to lead them on into thinking that you can supply something you don’t have in your inventory.
Go out of your way to make it easy for a business to trust your organization. Stay in close contact with them even after you have written down all the details of your agreement. Send a gift during their anniversary. Invite them when there’s an event at your company. Keep them close and remind them that you value doing business with them.