There’s an old adage that people do business with people they like. I couldn’t agree more. Notice what happens when a person moves from one business to another. Chances are, their (great) relationships follow them.
The best so called Business to Business relationships are arguably more personal than any other external business interaction.
In a great working relationship, we often get to know each other pretty well – we may know each others’ partners’ names, what we did on the weekend, how we like our coffee, what makes us laugh and cry, and what motivates us.
And getting to that point is as simple as talking. One to one. Person to person.
There’s real value in being able to work like that, not only on a personal level, but also a business level. It’s more fulfilling, it’s more productive, and it’s more long term.
So why put the walls of business up between a relationship and give it special names, formulas, strategies and trademarks?
Another way to approach it is to base business relationships on the idea that we like, trust and respect each other, so let’s work together – and if that ever changes, let’s review.
It doesn’t need to be much more complicated than that.
Yes, there are certain areas of the relationship that need to be buttoned down – approval processes for scope of work, the work itself and what it would cost not least of all. And there needs to be a process to provide that certainty, but even that can be arranged to help ensure that the relationship comes first. Take retainer arrangements and regular face to face meetings for example.
The most important part of the phrase ‘business people’ is not ‘business’, it’s ‘people’.
That’s why I think the best B2B relationships aren’t really B2B at all.
That’s they way I prefer to do business, personally.