The Power of Building Relationships The Key to Success
Business is always based on relationships, whether it’s relationships between my clients and their customers or between my clients and me. I not only want good relationships with my clients, but I also want them to have great relationships with their customers. If they’re having success in their own relationships, they are likely increasing their profits and are much more inclined to invest in our relationship. When the client is under stress, our relationship is key. This can be something as simple as trying to improve the client experience. If I’m improving their experience, I’m improving our chances of success when we work together. I’m always on the hunt for feedback from clients, as well, so I can continuously improve my relationships with clients. One situation where relationships are key is during the sale of a business. When a business is sold, the buyer often wants the CEO or founder to be available for a year or two on a consulting basis because they have the relationship with key customers. That’s where I come in. I help my clients negotiate retention agreements, sometimes called “stay agreements” or “consulting agreements,” between the buyer and the seller’s CEO/ founder. They call me because they can trust that I represent their interests, not the interest of the company’s board of directors. I don’t have the conflict of interest that corporate
counsel may have. Does corporate counsel represent the board of directors or the CEO? A relationship without conflicts of interest is vital to developing the necessary trust. These relationships are built on trust because the client knows I put their interests first. You can see the difference it makes when things are not quite right; during these times of difficulty, they rely on me as a confidential resource. Clients know that whatever they tell me is confidential. This strengthens our relationship. They can be candid, which allows me to evaluate how I can best serve
their needs. Whether it’s just listening to them vent or representing them in litigation, they know I am always working to protect their interests. Forming and maintaining these relationships can be difficult, and it’s something you learn how to do over time. Growing up, I may have been slow on the uptake. It was my parents who really made a difference with me in that respect. My father stressed the value of maintaining favorable and positive relationships and thought you should always try to get along with everyone, regardless of their status. He taught me the value in respecting and helping others, no matter their station in life, and stressed how even the smallest things can go a long way.
“Clients know that whatever they tell me is confidential. This strengthens our relationship. They can be candid, which allows me to evaluate how I can best serve their needs.”
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