Building great business relationships – it’s a personal thing

Building great business relationships – it’s a personal thing

We all know that building great client relationships is the key to long term business success. But how do we get there, and when we do, how do we know?

Building relationships takes time and effort. A lot of time and a lot of effort. It is not something that can be rushed. This is because it takes time to develop trust.

It is only really when we trust someone that we engage them professionally.

Know, like, trust

All relationships start the same way – you meet someone.

You meet, and through initial conversations decide whether you like that person and them you. If there is like, then the relationship has the ability to move toward trust.

To get to trust you need to build rapport and be open and honest. Successful people create rapport and rapport creates trust.

You must be open, honest and authentic. People value authenticity, and those who are upfront and honest.

And then

To develop the relationship further, we must to treat clients as individuals, and customise their experience of us based on their needs.

If you do this and do it well, then the relationship changes from one in which the client is the object of a sale, to one in which the client is the subject of an experience that he/or she  feels they control.

It is made personal. Personal to them.

How do we know its a great relationship?

Here is my checklist for what makes a great client relationship. Be honest with yourself and benchmark how strong your client relationships are. And if they are not as strong as you thought they were, its time to invest extra time and effort in them.

Top 8 Characteristics of a great client relationship

1. Trust

How strong is the clients trust in your professional competence, in you as a person, and in your business?

Can you work informally with them without checks and controls?

2. Transparency

Does the client openly share information with you about their plans, priorities etc?

3. Thought leadership

Are you perceived as a trusted advisor, who brings both subject matter depth and judgement to the table? Are you shaping and leading the clients agenda?

4. Reference-abilty

Would that person give you a personal recommendation if asked?

Are they proactively promoting you to their peers and friends?

Are they creating referrals for you?

5. Loyalty

Will the client always use you?

6. Breadth of service

How many products/services does this person buy from you?

7. Overall Relevance

How much of this person’s budget spend comes to you? Are you one of many vendors or an essential partner?

8. Financial Performance

Are the financial dimensions of the relationship characterised by steady or increasing revenues?


Are you doing all you can to make those relationships even stronger?

Contact me

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at, use the contact page on my website or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @jamesnathanxp, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to being in touch.



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