Effective Strategies to Deepen Business Relationships

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 1, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

As a professional, you can create trust through communication with customers, colleagues, and shareholders. Creating and maintaining these important relationships requires ongoing effort and engagement. Social media platforms, e-mail marketing, and customer relationship management software are tools at your disposal to help establish long-term relationships with everyone who interacts with your business. In this article, we discuss what business relationships are, discover how they work and what benefits they offer, and find different ways to create and deepen business connections.

What are business relationships?

Business relationships include the colleagues and contacts with whom a professional communicates during their daily operations. This can involve communication between those in the internal operations of the company, including employees and members of the management team. The most common way that you can help create and deepen existing relationships with colleagues is through in-person communication, like meetings. By creating opportunities for communication, you can build the confidence of your colleagues. As you help create a positive work environment, you and your colleagues can share higher morale and a stronger commitment to your goals.

Through intentional and direct communication, you can help shape how customers, suppliers, and associated businesses view a company. Companies can also promote the businesses that they're partnered with and their current promotions and initiatives through posts on social media or newsletter marketing. Those customers who view the posts can gain a better understanding of the core values of the organization. Intentional communication allows you to help grow a business' reputation.

Internal and external business relationships

Whether it's suppliers, manufacturers, employees, or customers, every person who interacts with a company gains an understanding of how the company operates through their relationship with that company. A business also has a relationship with the larger community that they are a part of, so business connections extend to municipalities and regions. Becoming more intentional with how you communicate and connect with people and businesses that are part of your network can help a company to stand out from competitors. This is especially true for other businesses which are in the same region.

A company's reputation is important, especially as you interact with customers and other businesses with whom you'd like to partner. Both internal business communication between employees and external business communication are important in establishing a reputation as a company committed to strengthening relationships. Below, you can find the two main types of business connections that you may pursue:

Read more: Building Relationships: Benefits, Tips, and How-To Guide

Internal business connections

One of the primary forms of connection that a business can pursue is internal business connections between team members, like employees, management, suppliers, and sharing business partners. When establishing internal business connections, it's valuable to focus on a shared vision of the company's goal that motivates all team members to work towards achieving the organization's mission. Another example of creating internal business connections could develop trust and loyalty through communication with all the stakeholders in the organization.

External business connections

External business connections are those who are customers of your business, members of your community, or other businesses associated with your organization. Establishing external business connections may involve connecting with community leaders and reaching out to the community through service initiatives and philanthropic projects. Initiatives to communicate with your external network can focus on creating brand loyalty, promoting your image, and eventually boosting sales.

Related: How to Build Client Relationships (Why They're Important)

What is the return on relationships?

Many businesses focus on earning a return on investment (ROI) and use it as a metric of whether the initiatives that they create are worth investing extra effort. The ROI on effective communication and strengthening your brand image may not create immediate returns, and you may consider it not as important as your quarterly sales figures or creating a new budget. Although there may not be an immediate return, building into new and established relationships is an investment in your organization. Another common way to think is in terms of return on relationship (ROR).

ROR is a great way to measure the success of your business and can help you to properly understand the time and effort that goes into creating relationships. Thinking in terms of ROR, every interaction with a customer becomes an opportunity to establish a longer relationship with that customer, who can also make referrals based on that positive relationship to further promote the business. In the same way, every team member who feels more part of the organization may feel more willing to innovate and contribute to the company.

The return on relationship formula

Promoting trust and loyalty when communicating your brand to customers can lead to an increase in sales. It's important to manage customer data and maintain communication with customers. Many businesses utilize customer relationship management software in a concerted effort to reach out to their customers. Consider the formula below to understand more about your ROR:

  1. The first thing that you can do to calculate your ROR is consider the full number of people who purchased from you in the last 12 months.

  2. Then, examine the number of times that you or your employees have helped a customer over that same period.

  3. Out of that number, how many of them have become repeat customers, or have referred your business to someone else?

  4. Last, divide the total number of people you helped this past year by the number who became repeat customers or referred your business to someone else, and this can give you your ROR.

For example, imagine the business had 1,500 customers this past year, and you helped 150. Out of those 150, you've had 20 referrals and 25 repeat customers from those interactions, which makes your ROR 30%. This formula is a helpful way to visualize how building relationships has a direct impact on your sales figures, and helps you understand the benefit of providing successful customer service. You can't always quantify all the different ways that building stronger relationships with customers and employees can help your business, but it can lead to increased customer satisfaction and develop loyalty among employees.

Related: Relationship and Effect of Customer Service in Sales

Different ways to develop business connections

There are several means to create relationships with those in your business network. Using different contact methods can help you connect with different people from different generations. Younger generations may choose to interact with your business through social media, but others may prefer phone calls or in-person connections. If you're just starting a new business, it's a good idea to build systems into your business where you can analyze, train, and measure ways to effectively connect with different people. If you're interested in learning more about business connections and how they operate, here are the practical ways to connect:

Use customer relationship management technology

Customer relationship management (CRM) software allows you to ways to automate connecting with your customers. CRM software features many ways to track how customers interact in your business. From contact management to tracking interactions, CRM software helps you to continually reach your customers and provide them with information that they may find helpful.

Create and regularly update social media

There are over 1.5 billion global social media users, and businesses have taken advantage of all those who are online. In fact, in a study by the McKinsey Global Institute, 72% of businesses polled said that they used some form of social media. A lot of organizations are on social media to form a network of business contacts. Social media is an effective tool to communicate new initiatives or product launches.

Communicate through dedicated e-mail marketing campaigns

Sending dedicated e-mails to your customers can help to connect with them through e-mail, providing important information about sales and new initiatives by a company. Many e-mail services provide ways to automate your e-mails, which allow you to send special e-mails to customers on many occasions. When they first sign up to your e-mail list, you can send them a specific e-mail about how to get more engaged in your business. You can also send e-mails to customers who haven't made a purchase in a while to remind them of your connection.

Meet with your community leaders and plan corporate social responsibility programs

Another helpful group of people to reach out to create a deeper connection are local leaders and government representatives. The information that you glean from your local officials can help you as you consider corporate social responsibility programs and other philanthropic pursuits. These endeavours can help you build up your reputation in your community and create employee engagement within your organization.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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