The key to building lasting business relationships is simple: “Do to others what you want them to do to you,” Matthew 7:12.
The scripture above, from the Christian Bible, looks deceptively simple, but, trust me, it isn’t.
If you want to live your business life by the scripture above, the expectations alone can overwhelm, even the best good-natured person on the planet.
But living by it is not impossible.
I have pulled out 5 of such expectations that can help you build lasting business relationships from today onward. Here we go…
1) Never Compromise on Integrity
Every business transaction with a third party is an opportunity to build something long term.
Before you pack that product and ship to the customer, ask yourself, “am I giving my customer the best value for the money they paid? If I were paying for this item, is this the best value I will get?”
Things of high value are rarely cheap. So you must communicate clearly to the customer the value of your product from the beginning. Then let them decide whether to buy from you or not.
Don’t accept a customer’s poor pricing to win them, and then sell them substandard products.
Karma is consistent. If you cheat people today, you will have nobody ordering your product tomorrow. Be a person of integrity. Always.
2) Make Other People Look Good
I got this one from Shane Parrish on Twitter.
This is doubly important because trouncing people in front of people they care about destroys their self-esteem and make them hate you.
Some parents believe this mantra: “open rebuke is better than secret love.”
And children raised by these types of parent grow up and become very weak and fearful adults.
Maybe because they’ve been shamed publicly too often as kids that all their self-esteem died off before they became adults.
One key to building lasting business relationships is to make other people look good in front of people they care about.
Have a one important rule in every business relationship you keep: if someone fails at something, call them aside and point out the errors then get a commitment when they’ll fix it.
Public shaming helps no one at all. It only strains what would have been a great relationship.
3) Absorb Aggression
This ties in nicely to #2 above – Make other people look good in front of people they care about.
When people get mad at you, sometimes, it’s not you who is the problem.
Perhaps there’s been someone that irritated them – maybe a superior, a more intelligent and powerful adversary.
But because they can’t lash out at that person, they now pick you instead.
There’s even a modern phrase for this situation: “transfer of aggression.”
We all do this; some people more frequent than others.
So when someone is lashing out, don’t get mad and lash out at the same time. There’s an African proverb that says 2 people can’t go mad at once.
Learn to take the back seat and calm down the aggressor. After the situation is all gone, the aggressor will come to appreciate you for always being able to calm them down when they lash out.
Lashing out together will only exacerbate the situation. So learn to quickly defuse the situation and make them calm.
No one hates a friend who makes them feel better. Because when we also lash out, we want the other person to really calm us down, not to lash out at the same time.
Just as Maya Angelou says, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
4) Give Constructive Feedback
There are many self-help books out there that will tell you to warm yourself into the heart of others by constantly praising them.
Although flattery works majority of the time, people that are deliberate about self-improvement can see through the gimmicks, businesses inclusive.
This is because their brains are wired for constructive feedback. They want to know where they can quickly improve.
Most people class their friends according to the needs they satisfy for them. The friends that give quality constructive feedback are often placed high up in the totem pole, while the party-after-party kind of friends are classed at the bottom of the same pole.
If you like getting quality feedback from others, try to give some yourself. Your value in the eyes of friends and business associates will greatly increase.
5) Be A Coach, Not A Slavemaster!
No matter how skilled you are at a task. There was a time when you were an absolute beginner.
That time, you bungled everything until you started getting it right.
During this period you had either of these 2 luxuries: a) someone acted like a coach, hand holding you to show how it’s done b) you had ample time to fiddle around to find out what works and to discard what doesn’t.
Now you’ve gone past that stage. You’re now a master at what it’s you were a learner earlier.
And some other young lad is coming up the same path you traveled many years ago.
So what would you do? I don’t know, but here is what many will do.
Instead of acting like a coach and guiding the lad, they’ll see every mistake as an opportunity to tongue-lash him.
It’s human nature – we love to point out other people’s mistakes, especially when we’re the boss.
This is the way of slave-masters. Moving round heaps made by slaves, slave-masters looked for mistakes in order to whip them mercilessly.
This is a sore part of human history, our human history. So you must throw away such behavior.
You must reverse the dynamics and learn to be a coach. And it’s easy.
When people make errors, correct them, coach them, hand hold them. Whatever it takes, support them until they can fly.
This is how you create a relationship people will forever cherish.