Everything You Need to Know about Relationship Management
We deal with people every day of our lives. We can be communicating either with the same people or meet new ones. Forming relationships with the people we meet and deal with is an integral part of personal success and achieving goals. However, building good and long-lasting relationships is not easy. In fact, it is a skill to know how to create and manage good relationships with people. Whether you run a large company with hundreds of employees or you are just starting as an entrepreneur, great relationship management skills will always set you apart from your competitors and help you retain customers.
In this blog, I will:
- explain what relationship management is
- list the six core competencies of relationship management as described by Daniel Goleman
- give the four criteria for effective relationship management
- list the six essential roles of a relationship manager as well as the seven skills that enable the relationship managers to fulfill them
- post ten relationship management skills that will improve your customer retention rate
- give you sixteen tips to improve your relationship management skills
As you can see, this blog is packed with tips and resources for better relationship management. I hope that you can learn a thing or two and improve your skills. If you see a piece of information about which you would like to know more, please click the name as it is linked directly to the source. It will open in a new tab page.
What is relationship management?
According to Investopedia, relationship management is “a strategy employed by an organization in which a continuous level of engagement is maintained between the organization and its audience. Relationship management can be between a business and its customers (customer relationship management) and between a business and other businesses (business relationship management).”
Its aim, according to Investopedia, is “to create a partnership between the organization and its audience rather than consider the relationship merely transactional. Consumers who feel that a business responds to their needs are more likely to continue using the products and services that a business offers. Additionally, maintaining a level of communication with consumers allows the business to identify potential sources of costly problems before they come to a head.”
That is the concise description. What I found during my research is that relationship management is part of a bigger picture. It is one of the four elements of Emotional Intelligence (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management). Alan Zimmerman points out that relationship management may be the most important element: “After all, the driving purpose behind Emotional Intelligence and life, in general, is to build strong, healthy, effective relationships.” Change-management-coach.com says that “managing relationships is an essential emotional intelligence skill that enables you to effectively lead change or manage personal change.” Consequently, if you want even deeper in-depth knowledge, it might be a good idea to google Emotional Intelligence and to read some of Daniel Goleman’s books.
The six core competencies of relationship management
According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, there are six core competencies of relationship management:
You start out building better relationships by serving as an inspiration. Some people need motivation or a driving force to push them to do things. If you motivate other people, you can empathize with them and make them see reality in a bigger picture.
You get people to listen and follow your moves by being influential in actions and speech. Once you have become influential, people easily believe and trust your abilities. You get the support of your team without so much hassle.
The third core competency encourages us to develop others in ways such as recognizing their accomplishments, giving feedback, coaching, and the like.
Being vigilantly aware of what is going on in our surroundings and the changes that we invoke help form better bonds especially when you show to them that any positive change or changes for the better start with you.
Conflict management requires good listening and self-control. Part of building good relationships is learning how to handle difficult and challenging situations with tact. You attempt to find a solution and encourage open communication instead of dwelling on the problem.
Establish Teamwork and Collaboration
Promoting teamwork and cooperation allows for active participation from the members and create a sense of commitment. Moreover, it keeps relationships long lasting and strong.
Four criteria for effective relationship management
Change-management-coach.com explains, “Before you can manage relationships, you need to notice and manage the effect people have on you and be aware of what they are feeling and what has led them to feel that way. Only then can you decide how best to interact with them in order to achieve the outcome that best suits your needs.” As a result, there are four criteria for effective relationship management:
- A decision regarding the best course of action in a particular situation.
This will be based on research you have done to understand how people are feeling and why they are feeling that way. Based on this, you will have thought about different ways to interact with them and the different reactions you might get when you say or do something. You will also be aware of their effect on you, and of how you should manage this appropriately.
- An interaction with others based on the research you have done.
- An outcome: how and what you say or do will be guided by a specific outcome you want to achieve. This makes relationship management an intentional activity.
- Your needs: the outcome you intend to achieve will be guided by your specific needs, or the business needs, at that time.
The six essential roles of a relationship manager
Andrew Sobel mentions six essential roles of a relationship manager:
Sets bold aspirations—a clear vision—for the development of the relationship.
Sets and executes a client relationship strategy that defines which issues to focus on, which opportunities to pursue, and which individuals to invest in.
Creates, manages, and leads the team, providing appropriate coaching and mentoring along the way.
Is perceived as a thought leader by senior client executives. Facilitates the development of a vision for the overall success of the company, business area, or function.
Ambassadorship and entrepreneurship
Identifies, mobilizes, and delivers into the relationship the right people, solutions, resources, and ideas from across the firm.
Commercial management and quality control
Successfully undertakes contract negotiations, ensures financial success, and monitors quality.
Seven skills that enable relationship managers to fulfill the essential roles
Sobel has created a clear image that summarizes the seven skills that enable relationship managers to fulfill the abovementioned six essential roles. If you want more explanation about these roles, please read his PDF by clicking on his name.
Ten relationship management skills that enhance your business
Nick Gibson lists ten relationship management skills that will improve your customer retention rate.
Awareness of customer needs
Knowing your industry’s priorities is an essential part of demonstrating your value to prospects and building relationships.
Direct marketing skills
Learn the basics of direct marketing and you will find it easier to form business relationships with new customers and maintain links with your existing customer base.
The ability to connect with strangers
Reaching out to prospects and turning them into customers is not easy. From cold calls to prospect met at trade shows and events, the skill of conversion and persuasion makes relationship management far easier.
Ambition and motivation
An ambitious, motivated attitude is essential for business success. People that are willing to reach out to prospects and call existing customers to learn what they are interested in almost always excel past their complacent, passive counterparts.
Sales funnel knowledge
It is a lot harder to get your first customers than it is to get your second. Many small businesses struggle with relationship management because they cannot acquire new customers at the right cost and pace for constant growth.
Strategic thinking skills
When you are managing less than 100 customers, it is possible to get by without any strategy. However, when you are managing relationships with tens of thousands of customers, the ability to form strategies becomes essential for success.
CRM software knowledge
Managing thousands of customers is far from simple. By using modern customer relationship management (CRM) software, you can keep a record of interactions with customers across your entire organization.
Big picture thinking
Customer service and relationship management are about forming relationships that allow your business to evolve alongside its customers. Because of this, it is essential to have knowledge of the way your business fits into the lives and needs of your customers. What benefits do you bring to the table, and why do customers do business with you instead of a competitor?
A friendly, personal attitude
When you do business with another company, you are not dealing with a monolithic corporate entity, but with the people that it is composed of. Being able to stay both professional and friendly is one of the key features of successful managers.
Fantastic research skills
From finding someone’s email address to locating journalists that are interested in writing your product, being able to research your target audience and learn how to contact them is essential for forming business relationships. One of the best ways to research people is through creative outsourcing. With a virtual assistant on your team, it is possible to dig up new prospects and learn how to contact them while you focus on your daily to-do list.
Fifteen tips to improve your relationship management skills
After all these skills and resources, I can understand it if you need some practical tips on how to improve these skills. I have found two articles that provide them. One is from Exforsys and the other mentions Art Sobczak’s tips.
- Make sure to build your relationships on trust and honesty.
- Respect yourself and those you deal with.
- Offer what you can do and contribute as a way of showing that you care.
- Avoid like, ah, um, you guys, and dude in your speech.
- Be selfless, curious, and grateful.
- Emailed thank-you notes are not acceptable for most things worth thanking for.
- If you want something from someone, ask yourself what you can do for them first.
- Be obsessively interested in other people.
- Always ask for what you want.
- Remember the “yes” answers you hear and forget about the “no’s.”
- Pay undivided attention to every individual you communicate with.
- In the presence of others, put the phone away and turn it off.
- Being five minutes early is on time. Showing up right on time or later is late.
- Treat everyone you meet as the most important person in the world.
- Smile more often than not.
What can I do for you regarding relationship management?
Building a relationship with your clients or other businesses depends on trust and clear communication. Coherent texts on your website and other types of communication (both online and offline) help to establish that. However, in today’s internationally connected world, it would be a waste to offer those texts in one language only. Reaching an audience outside of your own country enables you to form relationships that bring international sales to your company. I am the owner of Dutch translation agency BudgetVertalingOnline, which offers affordable translations English <> Dutch. Therefore, I can help you if you want to reach a bigger audience. Would you like to get in touch? Send me an email (email@example.com), send me a Tweet (@GdenHolder) or fill out the quotation form.
It would be really nice if you shared my blog on your social media! Please use the buttons below.