Building customer and industrial relationships is something every business must do in order to be profitable and enjoyable.

After all, without customer relationships or referrals, there are no sales; without sales, there is no business.

Relationships are important in life.

They make us feel safe and help us deal with stress.

Relationships aren’t only important in your personal life, though.

As a business owner, you should also build professional relationships.

Relationship building from a business standpoint can help you get new customers, retain current customers and manage your reputation.

What kinds of relationships should you build?

The three most important types of relationships I am working on building are with my customers, referral partners and members of our community.

You should check it out: #livelongdigitalcommunity

You’re probably already doing this, but first and foremost, you should be building relationships with customers.

Customers will be more comfortable continuing to use your business if they feel they know you personally.

They will probably also be more likely to talk to you if they have a problem, rather than telling everyone they know (or turning to Google with a one-star review) if they have an experience they perceive as negative.

Sixty-five percent of your business probably comes from existing customers.

How can you keep those customers?

Build a relationship with them!

The average business loses 20 percent (and some can lose up to 80 percent) of its customers because the business fails to cultivate and nurture relationships with customers.

And repeat customers are extremely profitable.

They spend more, and they are 60-70 percent more likely to convert (take an action you want them to take, such as filling out a form on your website).

How can you build relationships with your customers?

Talk to them and ask for feedback.

Conversation with customers will increase sales, even if the product or service is never mentioned.

What is the best way to initially build customer relationships?

Ensure your message is clear and consistent.

This means that whether a customer gets in touch with you via phone, email, social media, or carrier pigeon, how they are communicated with must be consistent.

Because if a brand can’t build a consistent identity, customers may assume that the brand itself isn’t consistent, and therefore, not reliable.

Communicate well and communicate often.

Relationships aren’t something which can be built and ignored, they require time and effort to maintain—and the same is true for the relationship between a business and its customers.

The key point is to be available.

After all, as we all know: customers hold the buying power, which is why it’s important to make customers feel appreciated by rewarding brand loyalty.

If you treat your customers right, they’ll not only purchase again from you but will become your biggest brand advocates.

Advocates speak praises of you in your absence.

Of course you want to nurture your current customer base, but what about meeting new people?

Here’s why small business owners should build relationships with people who aren’t (and might never become) their customers:

The obvious answer is that it’s possible that they will become a customer, but there’s more than that to building a relationship with a stranger.

I’m not saying you have to become best friends with everyone you meet, but meeting new people and networking can do a lot for a small business.

What networks are you a part of?

Any time I meet someone who owns a small business, I want to visit the business and tell my friends about it.

If people in your community meet you personally, they will probably want to use your business the next time they are in need of a service or product you provide.

Members of your community can be one of your most valuable resources.

If you are in need of help, and you've been networking at local events, you're more likely to have met someone who can help you out.

Building relationships takes patience.

You will have to invest time in building those relationships.

You can’t just walk up to someone and say, “Hey, want to have a business relationship with me?” (Well, you could, but you probably shouldn’t.

You wouldn’t just walk up to someone and say, “We’re friends now.”

Approach business relationships the same way.)

Be willing to reciprocate.

Remember that there is a give and a take in all relationships.

If you aren’t willing to be there for someone who has been (or even who would be) there for you, that person will be less likely to help you out if you need it.

It’s not all about the benefits.

Don’t be so focused on the end goal that you forget that it's possible you won't benefit from the relationship.

And hey, that’s okay.

You have friends who won’t help you move into a new home, but you still think of them as friends.

Similarly, sometimes your business relationships won’t turn a profit or bring in foot traffic immediately.

Be genuine.

Treat others as you'd want to be treated, and welcome conversations, feedback and new ideas.

You'll make new friends and maybe even get new customers in the process!

P.S. If you're interested in exploring the possibility of working with me one on one- so you too can have a business that’s profitable and enjoyable - I have space for a couple of new clients!

To see if we're a good fit, simply comment “Relationships” in the comments section below.

If you're not quite ready for that, why not click this hashtag and join our community #livelongdigitalcommunity where I will answer any questions you have about building relationships and creating a business that’s remarkable.