The 1991 movie “Proof” - starring Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe had a simple message: whether or not you love someone is based not on what you say but on what you do. It’s the same in business relationships. Over time your business partners and customers evaluate you and your company by your actions.
To create and sustain strategic customer relationships you and your account team must focus on continually learning from relationships, and how to foster all of the six kinds of trust:
Honesty - to be free of deceit; truthful and sincere. If you are found being dishonest with an account the relationship won’t recover. Ever. Be honest even if it may cause short-term issues.
Fairness – treating people equally without favouritism or discrimination. Increasingly companies work with others who share the same values. Make sure you walk the talk.
Openness – not concealing one’s thoughts or feelings; frank and communicative. You are an important source of knowledge and insights for your strategic accounts. They value what you think, so be proactive and speak up.
Credibility – able to be believed; convincing. People work with you and your company because you are experts. Credibility grows as your knowledge and ideas create better results for your account.
Reliability – consistently good in quality or performance. Do what you say you will do and deliver on your promise. Keep working hard to earn the right to stay a key partner.
Confidentiality – able to keep a secret. Strategic customers will tell you critical information. Information about their business, the industry and your competitors. Treat such information as it was intended and never take the passing on of confidential information for granted.
Trust is not something you can conjure up – it must be earned. Also trust is like the share market. It increases gradually over a long period. However it only takes one event that creates a loss of confidence for trust to crash. But unlike the share market trust often doesn’t recover. For strategic business relationships this means losing a major contributor to revenue and profit, and your reputation.
To learn how to build trust in your strategic relationships click here:http://www.gordianbusiness.com.au/strategic-account-management/ or contact us on +61 (02) 9450 1040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear your views so please add your comments below and subscribe to our blog at the top right of the page.