Good communication is key to securing partnerships. Here are a few tips for how you should go about it.

If you’re an entrepreneur, it’s easy to focus on selling products or services and forget about the larger picture at hand. Selling your product is only a small part of your business, and building relationships is equally, if not more, essential for long-term growth and sustainability. Good communication is key to securing partnerships with other actors in your sphere, whether customers, employees, vendors, or investors.

1. Over-communicate

This sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not really. You should never be afraid to communicate too much. Keeping your partners and contacts informed is critical to a healthy business relationship. Regular status updates and reports in your projects or other collaborations will save your partner the time of asking for updates and help assure them that you’re working with their best interests at heart. 

Perhaps most importantly, this approach will keep the element of surprise out of the equation. You’d want your vendors to let you know ASAP if there was a supply issue or some delivery block up, so make sure to let all your partners understand what’s happening at your end, too. 

A healthy heads up is critical to management and keeps problems under wraps before they balloon out of control. This will give your partners confidence that you’ll let them know if and when a problem arises in the future, which will improve trust overall in the business relationship and pave the way for future deep collaboration.

2. Keep Your Commitments

Being true to your word will go a long way towards building trust between you and your partners. If you say you’ll deliver something by a given date, you need to get it done. This sort of commitment to your work is often rare in the business world, and people will take note. Once partners and customers know you’ll meet your deadlines, they’ll realize that you’re worth working within the long run. It also helps to build a little bit of goodwill in case of any other mishaps or mixups on your end.

As a general rule, do the best job you can all the time. That way, your partners will be more accommodating when stuff does fall through the cracks (because it happens to the best of us!).

3. Honesty

Honesty in business relationships is perhaps the MOST IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE you can have. If you stay honest with your communication and dealings, you’ll earn trust more than through any other factor, guaranteed. Clients, vendors, employees will be able to tell if you’re attempting to twist the truth. They may not know the truth, but it’s relatively easy to tell when someone is weaseling out of something. 

More importantly, once someone gets a negative vibe about you and your business, it’s almost impossible to change their mind. The modem market is too competitive to take that chance, anyway.

By the same logic, don’t be afraid to tell someone, “I don’t know.” Don’t hedge, just be straight up. Everyone likes a straight shooter. People will appreciate your honesty in these situations, even if you aren’t telling them the good news, particularly if you follow up quickly with a promise to find an answer to whatever questions or concerns they have. That said, don’t make a habit of saying, “I don’t know,” either!

4. Keep in Touch

If you don’t nurture your business relationships, they’ll dry up just like any other relationship. If you’re always at the forefront of someone’s mind, they’re much more likely to think of you when new opportunities arise. 

Remember: social media isn’t just for scrolling! 

Social media tools can make it incredibly easy to stay in touch, even if you’re just sharing posts and commenting. All told, just make a point of keeping yourself on the radar of as many people as possible, and not only will you maintain your existing relationships, but new partnerships and opportunities will start to come your way.

5. Share Share Share!

It’s worth noting that no one likes a resource hog. In a healthy partnership or relationship, both parties should share their knowledge and resources. For example, loss prevention and asset protection are essential for many businesses. If your brand specializes in security products, you’ll give even greater benefit to your clients and partners if you share your expertise and know-how in business security techniques, regardless of whether or not the simple act of sharing that knowledge leads to a sale.

6. The Personal Touch

A business relationship that exists entirely on text messages, Slack, and email will never be as secure as one that is based on personal, face-to-face interaction. Look for as many opportunities as possible to meet your partners in person, whether socially at a coffee shop or golf course or some trade event in your industry. It’s all good. Face time is more beneficial than you know. These experiences will dramatically deepen the quality of your relationships and benefit you BIG TIME in the long run.