Shot of two colleagues working together on a digital tablet in an officeBusiness relationships: they are vital to your success in the workplace and must be handled with care. It can be difficult to decide if the relationship is mutualistic (both parties benefit) or commensal (one party benefits). Avoidable mistakes and naivete in your professional relationships could not only cost you devoted clients, it can also affect your reputation with your colleagues – after all, no one wants to be blacklisted because of how they treat people when they do business!

While you may feel confident about your skill at dealing professionally with your clients and being able to provide them what they want (or what you want them to buy or agree to), it’s important not to become complacent in your interpersonal communications. In a world where information is readily available with a few taps on a smartphone or tablet, where consumers have begun to turn the tide on how products, services, and companies are represented in the world (think reviews, ratings, likes), it’s important to maintain a long lasting rapport with them.

So what more can you do to keep your business relationships happy and healthy? Here are three negotiation tactics you can use in your meetings with clients that can help you if you’re struggling, equip you with approaches you can use in the future, and provide you with a more in-depth perspective on relationship nurturing in business.

1. Work together as a cohesive and collaborative team

It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re meeting with a client and they seem to either not grasp where you’re coming from, or you simply differ in opinion. Rather than focusing on trying to force your client’s hand, remember that you’re a trusted expert, a professional, and you’re there to help solve a problem – their problem. Make sure that you’re well prepared with research before you meet, that you have an arsenal of ideas to share with them, and are willing to objectively listen to their concerns.

If you’re being entrusted to help facilitate your client making a major decision, don’t abuse their trust by putting yourself in a “Me vs. Them” situation. Think of business relationship management as a way to nurture your clients and establish a long-term partnership. Being able to carefully and thoughtfully navigate your client through their decision making process is something you can certainly add to your sales associate resume. The more you tackle the problem together by finding a solution as a collaborative effort, the more credibility you’ll have when you accomplish it!

2. Take into account your client’s questions and concerns by empathizing with their situation

Who is your client? What demographic are you dealing with? What are their biggest concerns? What obstacles does your client face? What are their objections, or possible objections? What’s the root cause for their objections, and why? How are they addressing their problem right now? If they aren’t, why not? What do they like to do in their spare time? By what medium do they receive their news, and information? Are they married? Do they have children? If so, how does this affect their decision-making process, if at all? What would the future look like for them if they accept your advice and expertise in that decision?

These are questions that you should use to prepare for your meetings and keep in mind during your conversations with clients. It’s important to be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes, regardless of your background/preferences, what kind of mood you’re in, or the pressure you may be under from your boss or business partners. When a client can say with confidence that you “get it” and know exactly where they’re coming from, it’s more likely that the both of you will walk away happy.

3. Allow your client to arrive at a sense of urgency on their own, rather than applying pressure

Negotiation skills, like many other skillsets, can be learned by trial and error. An age-old technique of getting a deal on the fast track is to pressure the other party into putting pen to paper with an ultimatum, or a deadline. While it may work in some instances, it’s a practice that’s transparent to the shrewd, and it can easily result in the opposite outcome you’d expect. You may be tempted to stand by your position, and impose limitations in order to get what you want, but in doing so, you may inadvertently damage the possibility of moving forward.

Rather than channeling all your energy into a “win” and overriding objections, focus instead on collaborative solutions – the more options someone has, the more likely they are to be open to your ideas. Sometimes our business relationships force us to be more creative with the strategy that will make both parties happy, which can be challenging, but also rewarding. The ability to find common ground is one of the most understated sales associate skills when it comes to relationship building. It’s not enough to be cordial, to listen, even when you disagree – maybe you’ll avoid severing your relationship and you’ll be able to maintain the status quo, but will you both walk away satisfied? That’s when the above tactics come into play – become a master in the art of negotiation and watch your interpersonal communications flourish.

Learn more about AmeriLife and stay in touch

Shot of two colleagues working together on a digital tablet in an officeBusiness relationships: they are vital to your success in the workplace and must be handled with care. It can be difficult to decide if the relationship is mutualistic (both parties benefit) or commensal (one party benefits). Avoidable mistakes and naivete in your professional relationships could not only cost you devoted clients, it can also affect your reputation with your colleagues – after all, no one wants to be blacklisted because of how they treat people when they do business!

While you may feel confident about your skill at dealing professionally with your clients and being able to provide them what they want (or what you want them to buy or agree to), it’s important not to become complacent in your interpersonal communications. In a world where information is readily available with a few taps on a smartphone or tablet, where consumers have begun to turn the tide on how products, services, and companies are represented in the world (think reviews, ratings, likes), it’s important to maintain a long lasting rapport with them.

So what more can you do to keep your business relationships happy and healthy? Here are three negotiation tactics you can use in your meetings with clients that can help you if you’re struggling, equip you with approaches you can use in the future, and provide you with a more in-depth perspective on relationship nurturing in business.

1. Work together as a cohesive and collaborative team

It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re meeting with a client and they seem to either not grasp where you’re coming from, or you simply differ in opinion. Rather than focusing on trying to force your client’s hand, remember that you’re a trusted expert, a professional, and you’re there to help solve a problem – their problem. Make sure that you’re well prepared with research before you meet, that you have an arsenal of ideas to share with them, and are willing to objectively listen to their concerns.

If you’re being entrusted to help facilitate your client making a major decision, don’t abuse their trust by putting yourself in a “Me vs. Them” situation. Think of business relationship management as a way to nurture your clients and establish a long-term partnership. Being able to carefully and thoughtfully navigate your client through their decision making process is something you can certainly add to your sales associate resume. The more you tackle the problem together by finding a solution as a collaborative effort, the more credibility you’ll have when you accomplish it!

2. Take into account your client’s questions and concerns by empathizing with their situation

Who is your client? What demographic are you dealing with? What are their biggest concerns? What obstacles does your client face? What are their objections, or possible objections? What’s the root cause for their objections, and why? How are they addressing their problem right now? If they aren’t, why not? What do they like to do in their spare time? By what medium do they receive their news, and information? Are they married? Do they have children? If so, how does this affect their decision-making process, if at all? What would the future look like for them if they accept your advice and expertise in that decision?

These are questions that you should use to prepare for your meetings and keep in mind during your conversations with clients. It’s important to be able to put yourself in your client’s shoes, regardless of your background/preferences, what kind of mood you’re in, or the pressure you may be under from your boss or business partners. When a client can say with confidence that you “get it” and know exactly where they’re coming from, it’s more likely that the both of you will walk away happy.

3. Allow your client to arrive at a sense of urgency on their own, rather than applying pressure

Negotiation skills, like many other skillsets, can be learned by trial and error. An age-old technique of getting a deal on the fast track is to pressure the other party into putting pen to paper with an ultimatum, or a deadline. While it may work in some instances, it’s a practice that’s transparent to the shrewd, and it can easily result in the opposite outcome you’d expect. You may be tempted to stand by your position, and impose limitations in order to get what you want, but in doing so, you may inadvertently damage the possibility of moving forward.

Rather than channeling all your energy into a “win” and overriding objections, focus instead on collaborative solutions – the more options someone has, the more likely they are to be open to your ideas. Sometimes our business relationships force us to be more creative with the strategy that will make both parties happy, which can be challenging, but also rewarding. The ability to find common ground is one of the most understated sales associate skills when it comes to relationship building. It’s not enough to be cordial, to listen, even when you disagree – maybe you’ll avoid severing your relationship and you’ll be able to maintain the status quo, but will you both walk away satisfied? That’s when the above tactics come into play – become a master in the art of negotiation and watch your interpersonal communications flourish.

Learn more about AmeriLife and stay in touch

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