At SWIG Finance, our relationship with our customers and extensive network of trusted intermediaries is key to our business success. All businesses rely on building and maintaining good relationships, and the social restrictions necessitated by Covid-19 has highlighted the importance of these relationships in challenging times for us all.
In this article, SWIG’s Business Manager, Rachel Thomson shares her insights on how to keep a professional relationship alive – when meeting in person is difficult.
Building positive relationships takes time, and the best professional relationships are often nurtured over months and years.
Building a relationship is a process that requires a mix of communication, including phone calls, meetings, networking and of course, the coffee chat.
COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has halted face-to-face contact, so how do we keep the relationship alive when we are unable to meet?
Equally, how do we maintain regular contact as we start to come out of lockdown and need to get used to the new way of living?
During these challenging times the UK working population has embraced technology as a means of communication with Zoom and Microsoft Teams providing the next best thing to face-to-face meetings, but what else can you do to make sure that you keep that regular contact with your key contacts?
Here are my top tips –
- Use a diary system – either on your electronic / paper diary, or create a spreadsheet with your key contacts in. Use this to make sure that you contact everyone who is important to your business on a regular basis. Make a note of the type of contact and the result. Use electronic means, email and phone calls to keep in touch.
- If you say you will follow up, diarise to make sure that you do it when you said you will. Proving to your contacts that you are reliable will speak volumes.
- Follow up potential leads that come out of a discussion. It could be a business sale for you so its worth investing the time to chase things.
- Remember the soft facts – someone’s daughter is getting married – drop them an email before and after to see how the day went – these small touches keep you in peoples minds even if there is no face-to-face contact.
- Share interesting information – “I saw this and thought of you” – it can be a newspaper article, something on the internet or a photo, anything that might be appreciated. Sharing this information is a great way to cements the relationship and builds trust.
- Use Linked In – it is a professional tool and you can see what your contacts are up to. Take the time each day to browse the news feed and make comments where appropriate. Remember to write your own posts as well – sharing what you and your business have been doing, along with interesting articles and information that adds value will keep your contacts informed and will ensure that you are kept on their radar. Be sure to keep it professional and business related.
- You may want to use Twitter / Instagram / Facebook as well depending on your business type. Again, if you do, take the time to see what your contacts are doing and comment as appropriate. These platforms are less professionally orientated but still give a good sounding platform for your business. These platforms can be very useful for sharing photos of your products and/or services.
- Finally, now we are starting to open again, why not try a walking coffee meeting? Grab a takeaway coffee (and a cake as well!) and take a walk in the park – it is easy to socially distance, but you can start building the face-to-face connection as well as supporting local businesses. Remember to include this as part of your regular contact.
Remember that your contacts will be feeling the same as you so the regular contact will help them and you to keep to that connection going.
About SWIG Finance
SWIG Finance is a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and an accredited delivery partner for the British Business Bank’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
We provide loans from £25,000 to £250,000 to South West SMEs who cannot access sufficient
If you are a viable business but your cash flow has been disrupted, or if you have lost revenue, get in touch with our friendly and professional team to find out how we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org / 01872 227 932.
Alternatively, for more information, visit https://www.swigfinance.co.uk/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils/