As the business landscape continues to evolve, it’s key for relationship builders in all industries to reconsider the ways they connect and engage with both new and existing clients. In our fast-paced, digital world, new technologies have transformed how companies do business, including how they attract new prospects, foster relationships, create trust and maintain relevance. While these new technologies are rooted in the basic principles of relationship building, business development professionals should take a close look at these new methods to consider how they can help reinforce their current approach to support their company’s growth and longevity.
A Multichannel Approach
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across the globe sought out new platforms for conducting business, collaborating, and connecting with colleagues and peers. Although these technologies, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, had been in existence for several years, they quickly became the go-to solution for staying connected regardless of physical location. While these platforms remain relevant in the post-pandemic world, they are no longer the only option for maintaining connectivity and collaboration. After many months spent separated from society and the physical workplace, most individuals are eager to reconnect in person.
When considering the best way to connect with an existing client or prospects, it’s important to gauge personal preferences. More traditional clients will most likely prefer a face-to-face meeting while fast-paced, digitally driven individuals will be more inclined to opt for a virtual meeting without leaving the comfort of their workplace. Knowing the preferences of your contacts is crucial for conducting meaningful communications that deliver long-term relationships and results. Remember, connecting can happen with the click of a button.
Networking in the LinkedIn Era
Gone are the days when networking was limited to attending industry-specific events and scouring through the pages of professional journals and newspapers to find new contacts. In the LinkedIn era, finding new leads can be as simple as sending a quick message or invitation to connect. While this type of networking should not be at the center of your efforts, it can be a simple touchpoint to initiate conversation and showcase your company’s capabilities to a broader audience.
It’s also important to know that your digital presence will be considered as well as your physical presence. Even if you prefer to keep your relationship management offline, keeping your LinkedIn profile updated and relevant is important to show prospects that you are actively engaged and taking full advantage of this forward-thinking, digital approach to business development.
Personalized Outreach and Experiences
Whether a contact is a qualified lead or a long-term client, both benefit from thoughtful touchpoints throughout the year. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems have transformed the way business development professionals engage with clients and prospects. With birthdays, anniversaries, personal preferences, and past interactions stored in one convenient place, you can create stronger, more meaningful connections with your contacts. Additionally, CRMs can also help you create customized, data-driven messages, and in turn, deliver highly customized experiences.
Prioritizing Ethics and Authenticity
Trust is at the root of all meaningful, long-lasting relationships. In the digital age, it’s become easier for companies to fabricate information or use unethical practices for gathering data. Regardless of how you decide to use technology tools to boost your outreach, transparency, authenticity and honesty should always remain at the forefront of your practices. In a world where hidden agendas and misinformation run rampant, leading with authenticity will allow you to surpass the competition, highlighting your company’s consistent reliability and transparency.
Regardless of technology’s next greatest tool to support relationship building and business growth, effective communication and the ability to understand a client’s needs will always be at the center of all successful business relationships. Although we live in a society that often relies on technology to mimic human experience, it will never be able to replicate the true nature of relationship building. While it is highly encouraged to explore and implement new technologies to modernize your approach to relationship building, keep in mind that it is intended to enhance personal connections, not replace them. When leveraged appropriately, technology can help relationship builders take their current practices to the next level, earning them repeat success in the ever-evolving global marketplace.