9 Tips to Managing Online Relationships
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
With the current conditions of COVID-19, modern technology allows businesses to continue working outside of the office. Zoom, Google Suite, Slack and more mobile and desktop apps connect us with coworkers and clients across the world. In the sudden environmental change, businesses may see a struggle in conducting client relations and sales tactics through online methods. In-person sales comes with many benefits, hence its commonality in the industry. In order to replicate the interpersonal connection of physical meetings, online relationship management should become a working skill for many professionals, even after quarantine ends. Besides the general common mannerisms of communication, here are our 10 tips to communicating online and managing professional relationships! 1. Be Authentic This is something we’ve all heard since we were young: be who you are. In a business setting, it is important to remain calm, honest and collected. The best way to do so is to be confident in your own skin and to know your content inside and out. While talking with clients is an important part of the job, so is your communication with coworkers. When spending multiple hours per day with a set group of people, you get to know each other personally. It is essential that you are honest with each other too. Being a reliable source of ideas and information, as well as a real human being, drives the creative and connective advertising that generates revenue and remembrance. It’s easy to create a false persona, especially online, but that is not the way to start a relationship and short lived when we start qualifying people and companies. Find people and companies you feel a natural connection and ease of communication with and things you both have in common. The authenticity of connecting personality, beliefs and point of view can accelerate relationships. 2. Find Common Ground A common interest is at the foundation of every conversation. When cultivating online relationships, grow that common interest among clients and coworkers to create the most efficient and reliable teams. A team that knows each other can function at its best capacity and will be most motivated to come together each day. 3. Be trustworthy An important aspect of relationship management is maintaining a level of humanity. In both corporate and personal relationships, trust is essential to making a combined effort to best advertise and communicate on behalf of a brand. 4. Reciprocate Business is a two-way street, each member must contribute to maximize the effect of the relationship. Online communication assists in this endeavor in that it allows long-distance business to prosper, despite seemingly unfavorable conditions. A common saying in the communications industry is “Promise less, deliver more.” The trade of business ensure an aspect of reciprocity between the involved parties: the feeling of owing the other party something in exchange for a service. You can reciprocate with clients with simple things, like asking about one’s personal wellbeing, sharing positive experiences and statistics on the business and providing reliable service. 5. Grow Personal Connections If you really want to get to know people, ask them to go for coffee so that you can talk more personally, one on one. Be willing to share experiences, ideas, points of view and simply learn more about each other’s story, family and professional history. This will also give the team a better understanding of the business’ values and construction. The greatest compliment in business is a referral. We should be thoughtful, have the right motives and be connecting people for the right reasons. Not all referrals work out. It takes two to make it happen and work, so don’t be doing all the work. 6. Have No Expectations Always go into relationships with an open mind, realistic expectations and never assume. People are only who we think they are based on what our interactions have been with them. One of the best pieces of advice I got from a client was: accept the way people are not as you want them to be. If we have preconceived expectations of people, then we are setting ourselves up for disappointment. Clients may not know how to communicate, the importance of communications fields or want to spend the money to develop communication strategies. Our jobs are to direct businesses as best as we can, but ultimately do as they wish. 7. Schedule Time Block out dedicated time to brainstorm, engage and do business together. It's best to set a regular time, a time limit and an agenda for what you want to accomplish in it, also leave some time for unexpected discussion. Creating this allotted environment guarantees a client undivided attention, something which they will greatly appreciate and prove better results. 8. Offering Before Asking
When we educate, help and inspire others with our experience and expertise, we are building the foundation for trust that underlies relationships that endure. When we blog, create content, speak, do a workshop, webinar, write an e-book, go to events, we are serving and helping. When we get more serious and engaged on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other social media where community gathers and exchanges ideas, we are serving and helping . Serving and helping builds trust like nothing else. Trust is the one ingredient that builds strong, long lasting business relationships. If you put in the time and work, you will be rewarded. 9. Be Human
Building customer relationships is all about delivering value to your followers. If you can provide helpful, informative or even entertaining content, people will want to connect with you. Unfortunately, there are still many brands out there that take the “what’s in it for me” approach to social. If you’re ready to flip the script, start by listening to your audience. The more you create content that responds to your audience, the more you show them that you value their thoughts and feelings. Make sure you’re listening.