The Steps To Building Great Business Relationships

Ask a group of professional services providers how much of their business comes from existing clients and the answers usually will be 60%, 70%, 80%, or even more. Then ask them how much time they put into nurturing those same clients and the answers will be a little, not much, or none. Finally, ask why they spend so little time building relationships when there is potential for so much new business and the answers will be:

“Don’t want to be a pest.”

“Don’t have the time.”

“I am not sure what to do to keep in touch.”

“I feel like a stalker.”

Obviously, doing great work is the first step in keeping in the best graces of your clients. But client loyalty can be fleeting and is not something you should take for granted.

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What Is Holding Your Sales Team Back?

There are thousands of ways to kill a sale. Some are obvious like not showing up to a meeting prepared, not following up, not listening, not establishing trust, going to proposal too early, not speaking to decision makers… the list goes on. These are all pretty easy to see and with some work and practice can be overcome.

Then there are the killers that hide beneath the surface that many sellers and sales managers do not even know exist. They are the sales weaknesses that are a part of an individual salesperson’s makeup that act like weights pulling them down.

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How To Motivate Your Team With High Pressure Situations

Being a good leader means knowing when and how to get your team through important deadlines with ease.

They’re not called sprints because they’re a fun run through park. When you challenge your team with a month or more of late nights, long weeks, and a request for constant innovation, you’re bound to encounter a few trip-ups. But there are some tried-and-true tactics you can use to ensure the health and happiness of your employees and make your sprints something to look forward to rather than run from.

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The Founders Syndrome

Founders almost always cite lack of money as the reason for failure, but if you look deeper, I believe the reason is more often about dysfunctional people and leadership. Sometimes it comes right back to the founder, in terms of a malaise often called “founder’s syndrome.” I’m currently involved in a startup that has been teaching me about this phenomenon and now see the true affect it has on the moral of both the employees and the company.

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Mutual Auditions With New Clients… Why They’re Important

I think it is only fair that both you–and your client–should be on notice from day one.

Let me explain.

When you are just starting out, you may have no choice but to audition.

You don’t have much of a track record and to be blunt, you need the work.

So, you do the preliminary assignment (hopefully, getting paid for the work) and you show how good you are.

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Being An Awesome Co-Founder

The quality of the relationships among co-founders is one of the most important elements of successful startups.

That’s why so many VCs and investors care not only about your pitch, your idea and your numbers but also about the interactions within your team.

They’ve seen startups fall apart time and again because of fights among founders.

Left to their own, the relationship among co-founders will deteriorate more often than not. That’s why you need to maintain and nurture them to keep them healthy, and you need to start before they shows any symptoms of illness.

Start “dating” your co-founders

Our way of keeping co-founder relationships working well is a weekly founders’ dinner.

Having our weekly tradition has helped us through numerous high-pressure situations. Instead of letting stress and tension escalate into animosities, we used the heat to forge a stronger bond among us.

Even when we were just three guys working in the same room all day (eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner together), every Thursday, we’d have our founders’ dinner.

We felt a bit ridiculous doing this founders’ dinner sometimes, but we decided that our relationship was a top priority, and we knew that forming this habit early on was important. We made a choice to be disciplined about it, and it paid off.

Here’s how we structure our founders’ dinners:

  • We have a free-style conversation and talk about whatever we feel like. Whether it’s business-related or personal, we share what’s going on in our lives.
  • Then we talk about our current concerns: developments in our business or in our marketplace, certain people, challenges, problems, and worries. We honestly and transparently bring up everything – not just the facts but also how we feel about these things, e.g., any stress, anxieties, tension, and so on.
  • Then each of us takes turns, asking the others: “Is there anything I did last week that made you feel upset or angry? Did I create any stress or negativity in your life? Was there anything I did that confused or disappointed you? How do you feel about my performance? Are you happy with the job I’m doing? Do I inspire you or disappoint you?”

The key to success of such dinners is to bring up anything that comes to your mind, no matter how small it may seem, and give everyone the opportunity to express their feelings. Don’t swipe things under the carpet.

Nothing is “too small” to communicate

We’re often tempted to think that little things don’t matter because they’re too insignificant. But they’re like seeds that first grow roots, then stems and leaves, and eventually – poisonous fruit. Five years later, you might find yourself in a fight because all these tiny little things you thought didn’t matter turned into resentment and hatred.

That’s why you should address even the littlest of issues so that you can completely resolve them before they start to fester. The founders’ dinner is your safe environment to express and process any grievances you may have and work through any animosities that might be brewing below the surface.

Your co-founder relationship either grows or dies

As your company matures and grows, and the founders spend less time with each other and more time with their own teams, the founders’ dinners will become the sacred space where you can still experience that original sense of intimacy and camaraderie you had when you first started out.

It’s an investment that will pay high dividends over time and help you build a foundation of trust and mutual understanding. Not only will it help you maintain your relationships, but it will also help you evolve them further. As a result, your team will become stronger with each passing year.