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LESSONS & TOPICS

BSBTWK401 – 3. Build and improve business relationships

BSBTWK401 – 3. Build and improve business relationships

The chapter  will discuss the following information in detail:

3.1 Develop strategies to represent and promote organisational interests to contacts

What is organisational interest?

It is essential to represent and promote your organisation better to build a network with business people or business contacts. Promotion and representation of your organisation are key to building a strong relationship with business people. 

It is important to promote and represent your organisation to business people to establish and enhance better relationships in the business environment. An individual who is representing the organisation needs to have clear knowledge about the entire organisation. 

Organisational interests demonstrate the benefits that the other entity will make after building and maintaining the business relations. 

Importance of representing and promoting organisational interest to business contacts

Creating and maintaining a good relationship with contacts always allows the business to provide a good experience. The personal identity of an organisation can make them unique in the market. It could include the organisation values, goals, and objectives. Subsequently, many other elements can help to show the identity of the organisation. 

A reputed organisation will always focus on client needs and expectations and provide a solution to a client’s problem. It helps a client know that your organisation is helping them achieve their goals and the organisation can make a strong relationship with them. 

Strategies to represent an organisation for better relationships

Utilise your professional network to promote your business

Conduct webinar or presentation

Selectively spend quality time on key relationships

Build new relationships by diversifying your networks

keep your attention on the business landscape and local social

An individual can apply many strategies to promote or represent its organisation for developing better relationships. This is a different network marketing strategy to represent your organisation. 

  1. Utilise your professional network to promote your business

This is one of the marketing strategies that you can implement, and this strategy will utilise your existing contacts to market your business. If you are using the network of contacts to represent your business, find clients and cultivate prospects. 

2.Conduct webinar or presentation

This is one of the effective strategies to represent or promote the organisation’s interest. This can provide the chance to meet contacts and collect their contact information for future relationships. Firstly, you are required to find the target audience and then set up a meeting. You can provide brief details about your business and services to the contacts with this strategy. Moreover, you can ask them for individual goals that will asssit you with building a business relationship. 

3. Selectively spend quality time on key relationships

Always spend time with your most important business contacts who can make the most difference to your organisation. This relationship will be beneficial for the organisation and generate a return in the long run. 

4.Build new relationships by diversifying your networks

Always try to go out of the circle and build a new relationship with the new business personnel.  This will help to diversify your business network and nurture a new business relationship with contacts. The next step is to seek more from an unrelated organisation such as the media. Diversifying your network can help you make many contacts where you can put effort to represent your organisational interest and build a strong business relationship. 

5.keep your attention on the business landscape and local social

An individual should focus on networks, loyalties and bonds that exist in your community. Identify the values, norms and interests that influence people you want to work with. This will assist you in making a long-lasting and strong network that you can maximise for your organisational interest.

3.2 Participate in formal and informal networks that promote the organisation

What is a network?

A network contains a group of people who cooperate with each other. This implies people are working closely together and connecting in their purpose. Networking is all about taking advantage of valuable relations to achieve the goal of the company. 

Formal Networks

A formal network facilitates official communication in the organisation. A formal communication network is one that is created by the management. A formal network works through the official channels in the organisation such as bulletins, intranet and memos, invoice letters, enquiries. Formal networks include the professional relationship with the co-workers within the organisation or inter organisation network. Formal communication channels are set by the organisation and have two types: centralised and decentralised networks. 

Following are examples of formal communication network

Meeting

This is a form of verbal communication. Meetings make it easier to communicate issues with the appropriate individual. When all of the appropriate people are in one location, these meetings are most productive. This gathering can take place in a variety of locations. This meeting is also arranged online by business personnel who communicates any issues relating to the business relationship.

Conferences

Conferences are an excellent way to meet new people and exchange business ideas. Individuals might attend conferences to increase their business opportunities. Individuals might engage in  a casual discussion with other speakers at the conference.

Presentation speeches

This is a successful strategy for representing or promoting the organisation’s interests. You will get the opportunity to meet new contacts and acquire their contact information in preparation for a future relationship. You must first locate the target audience and then schedule a meeting. With this method, you can provide contacts with concise information about your company and services. Furthermore, you can inquire about their personal objectives, which will help develop a business relationship.

Organisational blogs

An organisational blog is one of the most successful communication platforms for promoting business opportunities, and it should be included in your communication strategy. This is an excellent approach to communicate with your business contacts, discuss business insights, and build a positive relationship with your business consultants. 

E-mail

This is a type of written communication. Electronic communication is a quick and easy approach to communicate with a large number of people at once. An individual can discuss any subject by mail in this communication technique. The issues can be addressed in the mail and forwarded to the contact. 

Advantages of the formal communication network-

This is one of the commonly used communication networks in most organisations. This network allows management to reach their goals and keeps productivity high all the time. Following are the few advantages of having this network-

1.Clear and reliable

Formal communication always has clear intent. The receiver will know exactly what is expected and when which makes the process more reliable. 

2.Available for future reference

Receiving verbal instructions is great because it always allows follow up questions and any required clarification. You can always check any mail you have received, but you can’t have the same conversation again. 

3.It helps to save time

Writing an e-mail and memo always takes time, and it also requires focus. 

Informal Networks

Informal communication networks are always unofficial and unpredictable. Informal communication networks include a small or large group of people. An informal network may be a group of workers with a common interest meeting together for a casual gathering far from the office.  The most effective informal network includes high functioning people who are highly skilled, powerful, knowledgeable and those who have a strong network in the industry. The informal communication network is completely based on informal relationships such as family, friends, club members etc., and it is away from the organisation rules and formalities. 

Following are examples of informal communication networks.

Types of informal communication networks

1.Single strand network

This is a linear type of communication network where the information passes from one person to another. This network works as a serialised transmission of information from one person to another.

2. Gossip communication network

In this type of communication, you will have one person to serve or transmit the information to several people directly. One person will have a responsibility to share the information with the associated number of receivers who are in the communication network.

3.Probability communication network

In this communication network, one individual will be the primary source of the information who randomly chooses the people in his network to communicate the message. Subsequently, the second receiver will again pass this message to other randomly chosen individuals. This informal communication network considers as internet spam.  In internet spam, the sender creates an e-mail and send it to random people, and it goes on and on.  There is no way to track the main source of this message because the message is random.

4.Cluster network

This is a systematic type of network. In this network, the main sender will pre-select the two people with whom you want to communicate. Then the secondary people will also share this message with other pre-selected receivers—for example, a telephone tree. One person calls two people, and then two people call the other three people. This means whosoever present in the telephone tree will get the message.

Participating in formal and informal networks

Informal networks are social networks that include relations with friends, family, and co-workers etc., and this network will have all the possible information channels between all the individuals. Formal networks are always created for a specific purpose and always limited in size and scope.  The formal network involves individuals and organisation such as representatives, agents, and firms.

The process of establishing this type of formal and informal network consists of a planned process. This type of network requires social contact and business relations. These networks always happen through events and personal contacts.

Before participating in these networks, it is recommended to perform market research and desk research, the next focus on other specialist and related stakeholders. It is important to participate in meetings and trade missions to make connections with the contacts. All the contacts and the relations should be maintained for the future, and it is essential for all. When the informal network established, then it will be easy to create formal relationships. The existing network will also help to build a new network.

Informal communication is necessary for starting stages when forming a network with someone, and formal communication will be influential in the later stage in the process. When participating in the network, it is wise to clarify what stage the firm is in and what the firm’s management wants to achieve from this network. In this way, the organisation can participate in a formal and informal network.

Business networks can help to reach decision-makers which is difficult by advertising method. The business network involves all the business experts who can have their perspectives on various business problems. Participation in the network can lead to a better relationship with clients or other entities. This is efficient in having good business relationships, and it also enhances productivity.

How to participate in a network to promote the organisation

1.Make use of social media

Social media is one of the powerful tools that will help to promote the organisation online. There are various social media channels, and each social media channel is a unique feature that can help your business make good relationships in the market. Always make sure to socialise on social media and inform people about your product and services. It is important to focus on a social media platform for better business relations.

2.Make partnership with better brands

Although your business may be booming, , there is always a need to partner with other businesses. Start looking for one of the best brands and conduct research. Also, you should connect with some individual working in the company that you want to partner with.

3.Attend meetings and other events

It is important to attend the meeting and other social events where you will get a chance to meet business people. This kind of meeting will help you to socialise with the individuasl for a better business relationship. Try to attend events as more as you can and build a network in the business environment.

3.3 Communicate issues regarding relationships in writing and verbally to organisational personnel

Issues in a business relationship

A business relationship is always based on personal needs more than business needs. If those needs are not fulfilled, the relationship will not work and as a result, it may identify multiple issues in the organisation. Both organisations will have different opinions and decisions that lead to issues in the business relationship. Expectations can be different in every business relationship. When the organisation doesn’t meet the expectations, it is important to communicate and discuss with the relevant personnel to maintain the relationship.

Different issues may arise in business relationships. You are required to communicate those issues in a timely manner to maintain a relationship with your contacts. Following are the few reasons responsible for getting issues in the business-

Lack of understanding

As a business owner, you are required to understand your partners, employees, customers, and suppliers. Having a good understanding can bring value into your business relationships. The major mistake of a business owner does is that they do not spend time learning and understanding more about personnel they work with.

Lack of interaction

Mutual understanding is the key factor of any business relationships. It is important to interact with your contacts in a timely manner and have a smooth discussion. Always hold a meeting with your business associates to have a discussion on current business issues. It is essential for a better relationships.

Lack of trust

Lack of trust is one of the major issues in the business relationship. Many business owners always doubt their contacts honesty, and that create issues between business personnel. It is always recommended to have a discussions with contacts instead of having doubt about their honesty.

Lack of flexibility

It is common in any business relationship that the person will expect to do everything as per the plan. But this does not happen always, often, things don’t happen as per the plan, which may lead to an argument between business personnel. It is important to have a regular discussion on the business process so that everyone will keep updated with the business’s current position.

Why we need to communicate issues in a business relationship

Business communication can be a problem-solving activity in which the individual can address the issues involved in the business. Having communication identifying issues can help to build and maintain a good business relationship. A lack of communication can lead to failure in a relationship. Communicating issues can lead to productivity and avoid unnecessary delays in the business process. It also helps an organisation to be transparent and clear about business relationships.

How to communicate issues regarding the relationship

Effective communication is always required to discuss issues with the relevant personnel in the organisation. Following are the ways to create effective communication at the workplace.

1.Open meeting or face-to-face meeting

This is a verbal form of communication. It is easier to communicate issues with the relevant person via open meetings. These meetings are most effective when relevant personnel are physically located in one place, although, the  meeting can be held in different locations. Business personnel can also arrange this meeting online and communicate any issues related to the business relationship.

2. E-mail Communication

This is a written form of communication. Electronic communication is a fast and easy way to reach many organisation personnel at once. In this communication style, an individual can discuss any issues over mail. A sender can mention the issues in the mail and send them to the contact. Subsequently, E-mail communication identifies some difficulties to the receiver because of the tone of voice. 

3.Telephone Communication

The telephone is another way to communicate information issues with organisational personnel. When your target audience cannot present the face-to-face meeting, you will have an alternative to communicate with them over the telephone and communicate issues about the relationship.

4.Virtual team meeting

Many organisations have their business relations across the city or across the globe. In this case, they will rely on the virtual team meeting to communicate any issues. Many business professionals rely on internet technologies and video conferencing tools to make virtual meeting more useful. This is the verbal communication method and effective for all the business contacts.

3.4 Seek and respond to feedback from management on the quality of relationships with business contacts

Feedback

Feedback covers the measurement of performance and evaluation. Feedback from management provides information regarding the actual performance against the planned business objectives. Feedback always helps to enhance the morale of the employees, and it is important to seek and respond the feedback from management for better performance.

Feedback from management is the opportunity for employees to improve their performance. It is essential to ask for feedback on your work performance so you can enhance the quality and resolve the existing gaps in current business operations. Feedback is a return of information about a result of any work activity. It Is about listening actively, analysing the individual reactions, and finding the best possible solutions for the issues raised. Feedback can be both positive and negative. Both types of feedback are crucial for the presenter or business as it provide the presenter a chance to improve their performance and understand their strengths and weaknesses. It helps them to reach a higher level and earn more audience interest

Seeking feedback

Asking for feedback is an efficient way to receive  an accurate idea of what is expected of you and judge how you can enhance the organisation in the future. An individual working in an organisation can ask for feedback from its managers at any time on their work performance.

You are required to keep in mind the few things when seeking feedback from the management-

  • Let your management know that you need feedback on work performance so they can make time to prepare.
    • Prepare a set of questions that will help you in a feedback session.
    • Ask open questions. Open questions are always designed to get a more in-depth answer. They cannot be in simple yes or nO.

Following are the ways business people commonly seek feedback are-

Surveys

Surveys are sets of questions that are typically used to gather quantitative data. Face-to-face surveys are normally the most effective, although they can also be performed over the phone, online, or by mail. Existing customers are better suited to postal surveys since they have a personal connection to your company and are more likely to respond.

Focus groups and Interviews

A list of questions or discussion topics are  used in focus groups and interviews. Visual concepts and even product samples for testing are sometimes included. They’re ideal for qualitative research since they allow you to go deeper into people’s thoughts and emotions. You should prepare a list of questions and key points for focus groups and interviews so that you can have a good discussion with your participants. Managers can also organise focus groups and discuss the different strategies formulated. It helps to identify problems and engage the participants to provide suggestions. It also encourages different perspectives.

Open-door policy

An open-door policy is honest and genuine feedback can be requested as leaders are approachable easily. It means audience ideas, suggestions, complaints, and comments are welcomed. It would be best to let your audience know that their feedback is appreciated and consider adopting their ideas and suggestions.

Regular performance catchups

Regular performance catchups help to build trust and openness between the manager and the team member. It creates an honest and open environment in the workplace. Rather than a once a year catch up the regular update on performance is important. It enables the employee to know better about their performance regularly. Document all the reviews and use a standard process for all performance feedbacks. It helps to reduce employee mistake and increase efficiency within the workplace.

Informal one-on-one sessions

A one-on-one meeting is a coaching session where the management and the customer meet informally and have an open-ended conversation. It is different from the tactical or status report meeting. These meetings are extremely beneficial as it ensures that management and audience/customer remain on the same page.

Group e-mail

The presenter can also send group e-mails and discuss the information with the larger group to consult with different stakeholders.

Formal and informal meeting

This is one of the platforms to seek and receive feedback from individuals. Formal meetings have a set structure and agenda that each member is familiar with. Some participants in informal meetings may have an agenda in mind, but it is not shared with all attendees. Most business meetings take place in a formal environment. 

Sources of feedback in the workplace

Before improving the feedback process, it is important to understand the main sources of feedback. All the individuals in the team should be welcomed in the feedback process. There are mainly five sources of feedback, and each source has a different perspective on performance.

Customers/audience

Audience/customers are the most crucial source of feedback. It helps to measure the customer satisfaction level and improve support team performance. Companies can collect feedback from customers about team, products, employees, and management performance. They can collect feedback in the form of surveys, customer visits and a complaint system.

Supervisors, managers, and team leaders

Supervisors, managers, and team leaders are also a good source of feedback. They have insight into the company policies and procedures. Thus, they are more likely to have comprehensive knowledge about the employee’s performance. Leaders are the core source of the feedback process; they should be provided adequate training from time to time.

Objective data

In a business, to provide feedback to a team member KPIs, statistical measure and real-time data can be used. But these feedback sources may be misleading as it does not show the true picture of the team member performance in terms of customer satisfaction level.

Peers

Peers working together always have a better understanding and knowledge about their peer’s performance. Team members should also be involved in the feedback process as they know the company’s true picture.

Subordinates

Upward feedback is a process in which subordinates provide feedback about their supervisor to the upper management. It helps to boost the morale of the entire team. Upward feedback is important as it offers a fresh perspective. It sets a good example for the entire team as it welcomes everyone’s ideas and views.