‘People buy people’ – it is often spoken about in business, but what does it really mean?  Individual relationships with others are essential in business.  You will get more work or sales if you take the time to identify, create and maintain relationships with prospects, suppliers, people you meet through networking and more.

These days, you can do this much more easily using the power of social media and email. Using online methods, you can regularly stay in touch with and build relationships with people you met once a few years ago.  You can watch how their career and life progresses and offer support and congratulations as they pass milestones.  Just by showing you care will keep you in ‘front of mind’ which may ultimately lead to business and referrals.

Find a reason to call or visit your customers to find out what their problems are and offer a solution.  You won’t always be able to charge for this help – but that is fine.  If you ‘give’, you will ‘get back’.  Nyasha encourages all her staff in Banya Family Placement Agency to regularly call or visit their customers to find out their issues and offer to help.  They don’t do this to get more business, just to show they care and to offer added value.

As you can see, Nyasha is a firm believer in the importance of relationships.  In her book, Walk with Me, she talks about ‘winning relationships’. She says:

“In any relationship (personal or business) I look at what the benefits are, where you can add value.  I’m always looking at how I can help empower, enable and give in any relationship”.

Communication is key to any relationship – but don’t just talk – that doesn’t help anybody.  Listen to what your contacts are saying and take time to consider how you can help them based on what they are saying.  It might be as simple as a congratulatory message or a birthday wish or simply to let them know you are thinking of them while they are going through a difficult time.  When you contact them, ask them questions or add something of value to the conversation – try not to just say ‘well done’.

You may want to create formal systems to remind you to keep in touch and to note down the results of conversations.  Some businesses use formal customer relationship management systems (CRM), others an Excel spreadsheet or even the notes that are available in LinkedIn.  Whatever method you use, it is worth implementing something early in your business to make sure you don’t miss out on early business conversations.  How do you ensure you keep in touch with your contacts?  Do let us know in the comments below.