Go deep to boost your business partnerships (9 top tips)

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TXM Recruit Recruitment, News

What would the best compliment be for one of your business partners. Show you care by proving you understand their business and their business needs.

5.5 min read

People want to work with people that can offer growth. To do this correctly you need to build trust with prospects and this is easiest to deliver when you can prove that you have knowledge about their industry, you care about their success, you can empathise with their pain points and you can offer them a solution.

Often, you’ll need to do all of this in your first meeting and to make a great first impression you may need to go deep, to understand your clients needs and prepare yourself as best as possible.

 

Click here to read our 10 qualities to look for in a company that goes The Xtra Mile

 

In this blog we’ll share with you our 9 top tips on how to dive deep for your partners before, during and after you meet them.

 

The mindset

  1. Get inspired

 

The research

  2. Search engines

  3. Website

  4. Social media

  5. Research archives

 

Continuous learning

  6. Always interview

  7. Understand perspective

  8. Data is key

  9. Question your assumptions

 

The mindset

1. Get inspired

Researching an industry new to you can be time consuming and tough at first as you’ll often have to sift through dirt to find those nuggets of gold, but precisely because it’s hard is why it will help you earn the trust of your prospect.

You need to attack the activity with energy and passion, it will need your focus and attention, so as not to be lead down an incorrect path and waste resources (mainly your time).

 

The research

Prove you are the business to partner with. Show you know what you are talking about. You can do this by using:

2. Search engines

Search engines are a fantastic way to gather knowledge from as they are a brilliant repository of information.

Use search engines for locating news stories, which can tell you themes ranging from: CSR activities, product or service launches to new staff members joining the company.

You can also use them for generic social media mentions the company pops up in or related businesses the company’s brand might pop-up in. 

 

3. Website

A prospect’s website is a brilliant place to start the background research into the company’s history, sectors they operate in and services and/or products they offer.

Much of the promotion will be targeted at their customers so you can try to understand the tone and feel of who their target audience might be and what type of language they use to mirror this when you first meet.

Many websites will create blogs and other rich content to draw interest to their services, so by paying attention to their outgoing content you will gather a great deal of knowledge on how they do business and again who their audience is.

Some websites also offer reports into previous financial years.

 

4. Social media

Most websites will have links directly to their social media platforms which are used as organic promotional platforms for their brand, follow these accounts to dive deep.

Social media is a great way to learn about the personality of the brand and what is important to them at that time. Immerse yourself in their community.

Ask yourself these questions: what are they posting? Is it all their own content? Are they curating content from other accounts? If so who? Use this feedback to build a picture of what is important to them in their business.  

Use social media to find out about their competition, set up notifications for when they post. Compare your prospect’s content against competitors’ so you can enter dialogue educated and informed.

Keep in mind different platforms are used for different purposes (target markets) so may have different content tailored to each platform.

 

5. Research archives

Services like ABI/Inform can give you access to thousands of scholarly business articles and journals at the push of a button. Often these industry publications will offer insights not published in the broader business media.

You can pay for professional access or if it is new to you most libraries and universities will offer the service to their customers. So just sign up with your local library and see what’s on offer.

 

Continuous learning

Once you engage with a prospect and even when they become a partner give yourself over to continuous learning. The closer the relationship becomes the easier it will be to learn about them and understand their needs.

6. Always Interview

Whenever dealing with a client in a work setting no matter how close you get stay in the mindset of gathering information. Think like a journalist trying to get to the heart of the matter, in order to really understand what your client needs.

In conversations read body language, see what part of a conversation makes your client uncomfortable and what makes them excited. What triggers them to be defensive or motivates them to engage.

You may think that you have your customer worked out and understand their needs, but those needs will change because business changes. So stay on your toes.

 

7. Understand perspective

Show empathy when discussing actions with prospects and clients. Let them know you recognise their pain points and can understand their perspective on situations.

The art form here is learning to listen and then responding constructively and when appropriate. The American author Bryant McGill once said “One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say”. Show respect and grow their trust.

 

8. Data is key

Make notes constantly and if possible store the information in a CRM system you can update easily and regularly.

Most business relationships will include several people within your organisations so understanding what has been shared and when is integral to keeping a strong communication flow ongoing, as well as a knowledge bank to pull information from when needed.

 

9. Question your assumptions

You know what they say about assumptions… They are built up over time and have their place but can be dangerous if they are not proved correct.

The trick here is to sense check all assumptions regularly. Ask questions like, we assume ‘X’, but is there something deeper we should be seeing? Can we look at ‘X’ differently? Is ‘X’ even relevant anymore? How does ‘Y’ measure up against ‘X’? is ‘Y’ a better option?

Taking this approach will help you predict change. You may even be the reason for change as you help your partner along a stronger path, that’s when synergy happens, and everyone wins.

 

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