Can you really manage business relationships?

I was disappointed to read a blog post the other day about BRM, (business relationship management), and how it compared to CRM, (customer relationship management). Why is it that we have this need to label and box up and reduce to an acronym, such important concepts?

Even worse, in a lengthy blog that claimed to list all the important business relationships that needed to be ‘managed’, there was no mention of the people in the business. Not one…and it was a long post.

For me those who try to ‘manage’ their BRM and CRM, are completely missing the point.

While at times it may feel like you’re having to manage certain relationships, and there are always some you have to work at…good relationships are always the bi-product of how you act…the result of your behaviour over the course of time.

Relationships, be they personal or professional, are built on trust. And trust cannot be ‘managed’.

03B33784Trust can be built though…through consistency, through keeping your promises…doing what you say you’re going to do, caring. And that all starts with you. In a growing business, you are the heart and soul of your culture; you set the tone, you make the rules, you lead the way for your team to follow. The example you set, the standards you work to and insist upon, the processes and systems you put in place to support your people and manage your business effectively…these are the foundations of strong trusted business relationships.

…With your customers, who want to have their problem solved by knowledgeable, friendly people who are reliable and easy to do business with.

…With your team, who want to work with someone who inspires them, who cares for them as people, and who shows them on a daily basis that the consistency of their performance and their treatment of customers is important and valued.

…between your team and your customers, who learn to respect and value one another and who become loyal advocates of your brand.

Trust is huge in business – it can be the difference between success and failure, between pleasure and pain, between having strong relationships or those based purely on an exchange of money.

Build your trusted relationships…nurture them…but please, don’t try to manage them.

Marianne

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