Relationship management: a practical how-to guide

Relationship management is about working on relationships that are [1] mutually beneficial, [2] durable, [3] pleasant. Yes, this requires investments, at the very least in terms of time. So if it isn’t intuitive to you, you may wonder: why do it? It is straightforward: it is just much cheaper and easier to do business with established contacts, rather than constantly seeing them go and having to be on a permanent acquisition track. Plus: business life gets much more pleasant with established contacts, partly while first-time clients tend to be a bit more critical. So, HOW then to assure that relationships get good?

relationship management

The three main domains are pretty logical if you think about them.

  • Without you consistently being a worthy party yourself, there is no basis for relationship management. It is not realistic to expect loyalty from the other if you are not very satisfactory (in two respects) in the first place.
  • Without you explicitly and actively making work of the relationship, how should a “relationship” come about then? Building forth on that, you (or your employees) need to be able to remember what the interactions were all about, as to follow up on things as needed.
  • Without you granting certain benefits, the other will not get the feeling that there is something privileged about the contact at all. The other needs to feel that you value the relationship, by way of gestures that regular contacts don’t receive.

In theory it is not difficult. In practice you’re likely to face challenges. If you are a small company, the challenge will be to actually do all of this in a disciplined way, while you have a lot to attend to. If you are a large company, the challenges will be to keep it sufficiently sincere and integral, while a client could have contact with several of your people, while they still want to get the impression as if they were dealing with one. That’s why this “how to” guide can help to assure that you’ve got all these elements in place.

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