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LESSONS & TOPICS

BSBTWK401 – 2. Maintain business relationships

BSBTWK401 – 2. Maintain business relationships

This chapter  will discuss the following information in detail:

Use communication techniques to establish rapport with business contacts.
Identify barriers to business development opportunities
Use problem-solving techniques to negotiate solutions to identified situations
Seek specialist advice in the development of contacts, as required . 

2.1 Use communication techniques to establish rapport with business contacts

What is rapport?

Rapport is a relationship or connection with another person. Building a rapport is known as developing a connection or relationship with business contacts. Good rapport is important because it helps to build good relationships with others at professional and personal levels. It will also create a comfortable environment for work and living. 

Rapport is also a process of willingness to communicate and share values with other business professionals. The following diagram is the basics of building rapport-

How to establish rapport with business contacts

To build rapport, an individual needs to use social skills such as cooperation, listening, eye contact and sharing. Following are a few ways to establish rapport with business contacts- 

1. Research the person

To have a meaningful conversation, you must know more about the business contact you are proceeding to engage with. Investigate the person, such as  identifying his likes, hobbies, interests and background. 

Good sources of information contain-

2.Actively listen

Active listening means providing  full attention to the person you are having a conversation with. It also encourages honesty and openness.  Always make sure that you’re listening to understand, not only to provide a response. It shows your interest and can create  rapport with business contacts. Once the person is done speaking, please take some time to think about what they talked about and then provide your response. 

3.Mirror and match

Mirroring and matching are two methods for being similar to the other person. For example-

  • Notice the others individual body languages, such as his expressions and postures and try to match what they are doing.
  • Use the same language as theirs. If the individuals are using technical language, it will be good to use technical language during communication to build  rapport. 
  • Try to match the others individual’s speech tone and tempo. If they communicate by having a low tempo, you should also expect to speak in a low tempo. 

4.Be friendly all the time

Another important factor in establishing rapport is to be friendly with the person you are communicating with. You need to be warm and approachable when interacting with another person. Always maintain  eye contact with the person because it shows that you are paying attention to detail. Always be open to receive and share information with others. 

5 .Ask questions

This is an important way to show that you are paying attention to the conversation. Always ask questions and show that you are paying attention. It shows that you have understood the other’s point of view by asking follow-up questions. 

Communication techniques for rapport establishment

Communication skills mean having abilities to provide and receive information. This is a part of daily activities and ensures effective and clear communication. These skills include speaking, listening, and empathising. 

Active Listening

Sending and receiving feedback

Interpersonal skills

Friendliness

Empathy

Show keen interest

Respect

Active Listening

Active listening means paying attention to the person you are communicating with. You are required to pay full attention to what the speaker says. You must focus your attention on the speaker and maintain eye contact. Active listening can create a good atmosphere between you and the speaker and shows that you are interested in this communication. 

Friendliness

Friendliness means being an honest, thoughtful, and smiling person with a speaker. It shows your openness and helps to create rapport with another person. 

Sending and receiving feedback

Feedback is always important for improvement in every area of business. Good communicators are always open to providing and receiving feedback for any improvement. 

Empathy

Empathy always encourages openness in the conversation and makes everyone feel understood and familiar. Empathy demonstrates that you understand where the other person is coming from and that you also value their emotions.

Respect

Respect is a necessary component of all human relationships. Respect in communication is shown by giving the other person space and time to communicate their thoughts and feelings without interruption. Respect also includes staying on the topic of conversation and responding to questions clearly.

Show you possess a keen interest

Always show your interest in having a conversation because people like an enthusiastic person. 

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills are attributes that one uses to communicate with others. They are also known as soft skills or people skills, and they include both verbal and nonverbal communication elements. These abilities are essential for building relationships with clients, colleagues, supervisors, and personal relationships. Examples of interpersonal skills includes decision making, leadership, teamwork, motivation, empathy and active listening. 

2.2 Identify barriers to business development opportunities

What are the barriers to business development?

Barriers are the obstacles in business growth, and it has a significant impact on business development opportunities. Businesspeople will always encounter many obstacles in the business while operating. Following are a few example barriers to business development opportunities-

1. Poor staff retention

Poor staff retention can be one of the major barriers that comes with business development. If a company loses one of these team members, it not only impacts productivity,  subsequently, the company will also see a fall in staff morale, which will force an increase in business costs.  It is important to keep your staff happy and improve staff retention to facilitate business growth. A business can do this by hiring the right people, providing training to your employees, paying good wages, and offering flexible working hours. 

2. Skill shortages

Business owners are always aware of the skill shortage problems in business development. By providing training to staff can have more benefits. The skill shortage barrier can also be resolved by outsourcing the work tasks. 

Often, the situation happens in the organisation where an employee cannot finish his allocated work due to some reasons which may include  of lack of skills. In this situation, the organisation’s responsibility is to keep all employees updated with the current skills required to perform tasks. Skill shortage is one of the major problems for any business, and it is creating many issues in the business process. 

3. Outdated technology

Outdated technology can be stressful to business development opportunities. It creates many issues and can impact the current business process—for example, Poor internet connection consistently slower work productivity.  An organisation should not use outdated technology for their business operation because it will create many issues. An organisation should be aware of any new technologies which are trending in the market. Moreover, the research on current technology in the market will be useful in improving business. 

4. Improper tech knowledge

Software related problems are not the only problems in business growth. Many businesses face the problem due to a lack of tech knowledge. Many business owners always invest money in training so the employees can improve their tech knowledge. It is important to keep your employees updated with the current industry knowledge. Most of the organisations prefer to invest money and resources to train their employees,  which  enhances the business growth. 

How to identify barriers in business development opportunities

There are multiple ways to identify the barriers in business development. It is important to perform research in various areas to identify the barriers during the development phase of any business. You can initiate to identify the barriers by the following- 

Consult with managers

Always have a consultation with your managers to collect more information about the barriers in the business. They are the people who know how the company works and the area where is a possibility to identify  barriers. Never blame individuals and always try to focus on wider business issues. 

Consult with all the relevant employees

Employees always have more information regarding day-to-day processes of the business. They may encounter certain issues in the business. 

Look at the numbers

Have a look at your marketing and advertising statistics because this will provide you with general insight.  Have a look at the business documents include sales and business cost. Check for a product that is not selling. Keep an eye on KPI’s and metrics. 

Analyse the competitors

Analyse the competitor’s current position to know about their current barriers. If the competitor is also suffering, that means every business has a market-based barrier. After conducting some basic research, you will have an understanding of the barriers to business development growth. 

Gather more data

Gather more data to keep you updated with the current issues in business development opportunities.  Always figure out where your business is experiencing struggles and make a decision according to it. For example, if your competitor is selling a product or providing service at a reasonable rate than yours, then you are required to change the pricing for your product and services. Conduct an advertisement campaign and do marketing for better result. 

Types of barriers in the business:

Internal barriers in business 

Internal factors mostly consist of internal strengths and weaknesses. Internal issues might affect how a business achieves its goals. 

Strengths have a significant impact on a company. Employee strength is also an important internal business factor. Assess employees to see if they are motivated, hardworking, and talented. In comparison to an unmotivated and under-talented workforce, they will produce better results. The effectiveness and efficiency of processes and relationships between and within departments can also be improved. Internal elements mostly consist of internal strengths and weaknesses. Internal issues might influence how a business achieves its goals. Strengths have a positive impact on a company. Weaknesses are harmful to the business.

Following are a few examples of external barriers:

Internal barriers in business 

Internal factors mostly consist of internal strengths and weaknesses. Internal issues might affect how a business achieves its goals. 

Strengths have a significant impact on a company. Employee strength is also an important internal business factor. Assess employees to see if they are motivated, hardworking, and talented. In comparison to an unmotivated and under-talented workforce, they will produce better results. The effectiveness and efficiency of processes and relationships between and within departments can also be improved. Internal elements mostly consist of internal strengths and weaknesses. Internal issues might influence how a business achieves its goals. Strengths have a positive impact on a company. Weaknesses are harmful to the business.

Following are a few examples of external barriers:

External barriers in business

External factors are influences, circumstances, or situations that a business cannot control and that influence the business owner’s and stakeholders’ business decisions. A large number of external factors might directly impact your company’s ability to achieve its goals and objectives. It’s important to keep an eye on the issues that affect your business and industry on a daily basis and respond in a way that’s appropriate for your business. External barriers are always beyond the company’s control. Taking into consideration the external environment allows business people to make appropriate changes to their business strategy to make it more flexible to the external environment.

Following are a few examples of external barriers:

2.3 Use problem-solving techniques to negotiate solutions to identified situations

What is problem-solving? 

Problem-solving is the process to reduce or remove the obstacles preventing a business from achieving its strategic and business goals. Problems have always created a gap between the desired and actual outcome. 

Business problem-solving works when it resolves by the individuals in the business. Following are the processes for business problem-solving in this competitive environment-

Identify, define and prioritise the problem

It is important to identify and define the basic problem before identifying  the correct solution. 

Conduct the root cause analysis

The Fishbone diagram is one of the best tools for root cause analysis. Moreover, there are many tools that you can use to identify  issues in the process, such as histograms, scatter diagrams and the process flow chart.   

Create a variety of different solutions

You can develop a variety of solutions by performing brainstorming activities at the workplace. Involve each and every individual in the brainstorming session to develop a solution to business problems. 

Evaluate the possible solution and choose the best one

Brainstorming can provide  you a plethora of ideas from different people having different perspective. Once you performed the brainstorming sessions with experts or co-workers, you will have multiple ideas on how to handle business-related issues. Once you identify the variety of solutions, then you are required to evaluate all the possible solutions. It is important to compare and evaluate all the possible solutions to any business issues and always select the best one that will fit your organisation. 

Implement the solution

Once you choose the best solution for your business problem, you can start implementing this solution in a time frame. 

Importance of problem-solving in business

Problem-solving is necessary for all the situation when working in a business environment. Problems solving skills can assist the individual to become a leader in the organisation. Problem-solving skills will help to resolve issues and conflict at the workplace. 

Problem-solving is essential when issues are complex, and there is an urgency to fix those issues. 

How to negotiate using Problem-solving techniques

1.Six thinking hats

This is one of the problem-solving techniques. Six thinking Hats focus on identifying the problems and their solutions from various perspectives. It consists of a consultation with team members from other departments. This gets an overview of the situation and its solutions. Following are the main elements of this technique-

  • Analysis
  • Data Research
  • Brainstorming

Using the thinking hats technique in problem-solving

A team of individuals can use these hats in any order during the discussion session. It normally starts with this order, such as blue, white, green, yellow, red and then finally black. By following this order, an individual can organise the discussion. 

Blue Hat: Blue Hat always worn by the person who’s controlling a team and the one who is responsible for managing the team. They will always provide the rules in the form of scope, agenda, and goals. For example, a project manager who is running a team will wear a blue hat. The person who is wearing a blue hat must be concerned with many issues such as

What are the issues the company is dealing with?

What are the benefits of resolving the problem, and what is the company trying to achieve by resolving this issue?

What is the suitable way to approach the problem?

White Hat: The white Hat is always used at the start and the end of the session. When it used in the beginning, then it always focuses on the facts or information available. When used at the end of a session to question opinions, those are derived from using the other idea or opinions. 

Green Hat: Green Hat is used in encouraging or generating new and innovative ideas. Anything should be considered by thinking out of the box. At this stage, comments from individuals and negative thinking are not allowed.

Yellow Hat:  This is the optimistic hat used to consider possible ideas generated from the green hat process. 

Red Hat: Feelings and emotions can be expressed by wearing this hat, such as dislike and fears. 

Black Hat: The black hat is negative, but it always looks at possible solutions or ideas to determine if they might work or not.. Th black hat thinker should apply critical thinking to resolve the problem.

There are many ways to apply this technique to resolve the issue. When you are working with the groups to perform this activity, you are required to perform the following-

  • Assign a moderator for each group and ask them to wear a blue hat. They must have a good understanding of the situation and set an agenda before organising the meeting. 
  • Provide cards to each member in the meeting regarding hats and what perspective they must be taking with each hat. Always make sure that the participants have means of recording their opinions and provide a way of showing which hat they are wearing. Then break the larger group into smaller groups.
  • Assign each group with a specific hat to ask their ideas for this situation. 
  • Have groups consider the same perspective before moving to the next one. 

2. Lightning decision jam

This is one of the most important problem-solving techniques. In this technique, you will call a few qualified people from your team and discuss the various problems. These people will write their problems and propose a solution on the paper, and then one by one, they present it to the meeting host and discuss it collectively. 

After this, the priority of the solution is decided by the collective vote from the team members, and the solution is placed into execution. 

The best advantage of these techniques is-


Problem definition process

The problem can be complex to solve, but the solution will become clear with every next step when you try to identify the problem. That is exactly what happens in this problem-solving technique. Firstly, Identify the problem and go to the root cause of the problem. Identifying a problem at a deeper level is all that this problem involves. You start by picking a focus question and investigating its various manifestations before dividing it into five groups, each of which will tackle the issue using a different method: escape, reversal, exaggeration, distortion, or wishful thinking. 

3.The 5 Why’s

This is one of the important problem-solving techniques that goes to the root of the problem and at the heart of the organisation. This technique is effective in helping a group to find the root cause of any challenge or problem and perform root cause analysis that provides a better result.

By beginning  with the development of the problem statement and going  through five steps to refine it into a root cause problem statement, the 5 Why’s provides everything you need to guide a group through a root cause analysis with much ease. 

How it works

This is one of the powerful problem-solving techniques that directly takes teams attention to solve complex business problems. This technique enables the method by creating a relaxing atmosphere. All the participants will explore relevant topics and self organises for problem-solving purposes. 

How it works

5.Mind Mapping

The most effective way of problem-solving is brainstorming ideas with others. Brainstorming assists to provide more ideas from the different people, and the organisation can have various options in  how they  can resolve the problem. Brainstorming can be  executed  in a team meeting, and this is one of the effective ways of getting a plethora of ideas to resolve a particular issue in the business.

You can request your participants to brainstorm the issues. With the mind mapping technique, an individual will brainstorm the ideas and innovatively present them. An individual can present the ideas in a diagrammatic and visual format. 

Principles of negotiation

1. Be prepared

  • Know about the party you will be negotiating with.
  • Take advantage of your strengths and of their weaknesses.
  • If possible, speak with other business people who have negotiated with the other party in the past / do your research.
  • Many negotiators have their patterns and styles that you may be able to use against them.
  • Most importantly, before you begin the negotiation, make sure that the other party has the authority to make binding commitments; 

2. Have a strategy

  • The first offer is usually the most essential since it acts as a benchmark against which the following offers are judged or compared.
  • Make your first offer aggressive; you will never obtain what you do not ask for.
  • Have something you can give away without hurting your negotiating position.

3. Know when to stop talking

  • This is a common mistake made by smart negotiators. Even after the other party says “Yes,” they don’t know when to stop talking.
  • When you are  trying to make a point, something happens. This isn’t a “negotiation”.
  • Listening is more important than talking when it comes to great negotiations.
  • You can’t take something back once you’ve said it, so select your words carefully.

4. Mind your manners / Be Respectful

  • Don’t get defensive if the other party objects.
  • When the other party raises an objection, seek clarification.
  • Ask for specifications.
  • Use objections as an opportunity to pay close attention to what is  being said
  • Trying to win an argument will never result in you getting what you want.

5. Find the Influence

  • Focus on making the most of your strengths.
  • If you are the sole supplier of a product, you have tremendous negotiating power.
  • If economic circumstances have produced a market where your product is in high demand but low supply, you will have more negotiating power to set your price.
  • Demonstrate your expertise on the subject early in the negotiation to establish a strong foundation.
  • It’s impossible to play “catch-up” during a negotiation.

6. Your Offer and Closing the Deal

  • Negotiating success requires a good sense of time, resourcefulness, awareness, and the ability to anticipate the other party’s next move.
  • Negotiation should be designed to form the basis for your next move and your succeeding steps in the process.
  • Always keep the endgame in mind when developing a strategy.
  • All of the offers that come before the final number are crucial because they set the stage for the final handshake.

2.4 Seek specialist advice in the development of contacts, as required

From time to time, you may need some specialist advice in the development of business contacts. Not all specialists are equal in the organisation. It depends on your area where you would like to improve and take specialist advice according to it. 

Specialist in business

Many businesses always invest in a professional  when they want to enhance their business and relationship,  then they will seek  advice from a specialist.  The task of the business experts is to research new business development opportunities, create business plans and stay on the top of  industry-specific trends. 

Following are the core duties of a business specialist:

From the business development perspective, it is important to invite expert advice in the development of business contacts. A business specialist will have knowledge about current market research. A specialist always keeps track of competitors development and market strategies. 

How to find a specialist in the development of business contacts

Leverage your networks

It is always beneficial for you to leverage your network to make new business contacts. There are several ways where you can build your network and efficiently achieve the objectives. Seeking professional advice from a business specialist will help a business make many business contacts that help a business make good business relationships. You could ask people from your past if they had the same problem or topic. You can find many individuals in that way and can make a strong relationship with them. You can also hire an expert in the field and consult him in the development of contacts.

Consultant marketplaces There are various platforms available in the market where you can get a chance to meet consultant, and you can receive advice as well. Several websites have built marketplaces where you can find any specialist by location, budget, and topic—for example, Talmix, Sparehire and Expert 360. You can

find an expert on these websites depending  on what your exact needs are. You can also take advice on how to develop contacts to build a good business relationship.

Social media or Quora platform

Social medial is also a good platform where an individual can gather specialist advice on developing business contacts. Most of the people on LinkedIn are  recommended by their peers as experts on specific topics. You can find many industry specialists here, and you can ask for their advice and recommendation on building and managing business relationships. Quora is also one of the reading platforms where you can voice you concerns to thousands of business experts.

Consider consulting firms and individuals

You can also find a specific consulting organisation to specialise in your pain point. There are many consulting companies where you can get specialist advice in developing business. It is very important to do research before choosing a specialist for your business processes.