Every industry has to work with clients and customers. Whether you are communicating with a vendor, finding investors, or selling a product to potential customers, knowing how to build and maintain relationships well has a major impact on your business’s success.

The first step to building a good business relationship, as with any type of relationship, is to build trust. Potential customers and clients don’t know you, even if they have done a bit of research about you or your business online, so they don’t know if you are trustworthy. Show you are worthy of their trust and respect by showing up on time to meetings, keeping your word, and showing genuine interest in them.

Another way to attract clients and keep them around is to maintain a positive attitude. No one wants to work with someone who is always angry or stressed out. Show enthusiasm, positivity, and confidence not only about your projects but in general. If you aren’t excited about your work or products, how can you expect others to be?

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Clients and customers don’t want to feel uninformed. That’s why open, honest communication and the sharing of knowledge can make you stand out from the crowd. Share and exchange knowledge with them rather than keeping them in the dark or telling them what you think they want to hear. Most business contacts will appreciate honesty and should be willing to do the same for you.

In order to build and maintain business relationships, you have to prove your value. Clients, customers, and partners won’t work with you if you don’t bring them any benefits. To prove your worth, always strive to exceed expectations. Going above and beyond not only increases the likelihood that a client will stick with you, but also that they will recommend you to others. However, make sure not to oversell what you can do. This will only lead to stress on your part and disappointment on theirs.

Successful executives, not to mention career consultants like Dana Hundley note that checking in regularly with your business contacts is the key to maintaining relationships with them. You wouldn’t go months or years without talking to your best friend or spouse, so you shouldn’t abandon your client relationships, either. She says that scheduling check-in meetings or even grabbing a quick cup of coffee can keep projects moving along. They are the perfect opportunities to ask questions or request feedback in a casual setting.

Having strong client relationships can make or break your career. When you know how to communicate with your business contacts, you can build relationships that will last for years.

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