How to Maintain a Business Relationship

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Maintaining relationships of all types is important, but maintaining business relationships may have the most significant financial impact, as these relationships often equate to financial gain. Unlike other relationships, you may not head out to dinner or hit the town with your business contacts, but that does not mean that you should allow yourself to lose contact with them entirely. By focusing on maintaining the relationships that you have worked so carefully to build you can ensure that you maintain a strong business network, increasing your chances of business success.

  • Keep notes. You likely have a method of jotting down contact information from your business contacts, but this vital how-to-get-in-touch info isn't the only thing you should note. It is wise to also write down notations about the individual's interests or your relationship with him, perhaps in the same place you keep this contact information. For example, if you first met a contact at an OSU football banquet and he is a huge fan, writing down this information next to his address and phone number allows you to mention this connection whenever you speak to him, likely endearing you to this die-hard Buckeye.

  • Maintain contact. Avoid allowing months or even years to slip by between contacts. While you don't want to take up your business acquaintance's time with unnecessary phone calls just to chat, a quick call here or there to follow up on the last piece of business you completed together is wise.

  • Inform people of contact information changes. If your email address, phone number or even physical address changes, let everyone know. Send out a mass mailer to ensure that all of your contacts have your most current contact information so they can reach you should they need to.

  • Respond to requests rapidly. Make communication a top priority. If those with whom you have a business relationship feel like they are constantly kept waiting when they try to get in touch with you, they will likely become frustrated. If at all possible, try to make a same-day contact return policy and commit to not leaving the office until you have returned your calls or emails to ensure that this communication doesn't fall by the wayside.

  • Remain cordial at all times. While there is a difference between a business contact and a friend, you should aim to treat these individuals in a friendly manner at all times. By doing so, you can build a relationship that could prove advantageous for your business. To ensure that you maintain your cordial relationship, avoid contacting business contacts when you are angry and, if you become angry or upset, allow yourself time to cool off before contacting them again to discuss the problem instead of allowing yourself to blow up at them unnecessarily.

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