When it comes to the basis of relationship building, we never forget about transparency, communication, trust and traditional well-known best practice. Here are some insights on how to secure a solid long-term relationship with your partners. We are going to deep dive into how we can be reliable and demonstrate a consistent ability to protect long term collaborations.
The devil is in the details. From back to basics to thinking outside the box, there are different ways to run partnerships. The key pillar which fits in one sentence to me is “be solution driven”. Between colleagues, advertisers, networks, publishers, agencies etc. there are many challenges we share. The idea here is to look at how we can also share a positive mindset. Whilst other industries can be focused on tearing each other apart we can always find a middle ground to stay focused on initial goal, be solution driven and protect our respective business interests.
Top tips on maintaining solid client relationships
We’d all agree that one of the successes of the affiliate marketing industry lies within the capacity to build strong relationships. A lot of B2B businesses value the importance of partnerships and client services, and performance marketing has taken it to the next level.
By essence, our industry puts at heart win-win situation between partners. With common interest, best practices make common sense and have been built by decades of experience and knowledge.
Despite that, there are cases where consistency makes the whole difference. When the routine is broken, there is room for failure. For example, when your computer crashes at 9.05am on Monday morning, it takes longer than usual to turn on or launch the program you are after, do you maintain the same standard of production? Will you definitely meet the deadlines you agreed to? You should, and if not, what is the reason you would fail at it? This habit, routine, custom, repetitive practice, has let you down and has broken the consistent standard. How can we make consistency our day to day standard to keep protecting solid partnerships without failing them?
Routine can be key. As many time management seminars, tools and advisors, organisation and frames support consistency. Here are 3 situations where a frame or template can be a lifesaver and support maintaining best-advised standards:
Clear meeting agenda – there is nothing worse than being flaky with what you want to achieve during a call or a meeting. To save everyone’s time, a predefined agenda agreed with all attendees will also allow you to structure the meeting and the follow-up.
Calls and meetings follow up – summarising topics discussed and translating them into action points are the first step to demonstrate how pro-active you can be. After 5 back to back meetings all morning, will you remember the totality of the 15 pending actions that came out of your first meeting? The answer can only be yes: by having structured notes taken digitally during the meeting, you can even have shared it with all attendees before jumping into the next one.
Action follow-ups – one of the main failures that cause our industry to lose business is the lack of pro-activity related to the action points coming out of these meetings. Do 100% of attendees share a proposal after an affiliate day with a brand? How to remember with confidence that all the 20 persons met this day are going to be responsive in the next week. A timed action list or work in progress sheet allows everyone to keep up.
Whilst task lists are the guide, your determination and personality will do the rest. This leads to the next examples of how you can demonstrate your reliability by putting your personality and expertise forward.
Be physically available – who has never been tempted to have a “do not disturb” sign on their forehead? Whilst every matter is urgent for someone, your priority list needs to be flexible. Beyond understanding the need of everyone to get a reply in timely manners, the key point here is to be more than an e-mail address with an out of office on. It is easy to hide behind a newsletter to communicate changes or uncomfortable news. However, a phone call or a face to face meeting will always be more appreciated and prove how reliable you can be in a time where your presence is needed.
Do not overpromise and do not oversell – we all want the best for our partners. Can we always deliver their ideal? Be truthful to what you can realistically deliver and manage expectations. Make sure that whatever you agree on is realistic and make it happen. You missed the deadline on producing a task within shorter SLA than your standards. Do not promise that you will make it next time: provide an explanation on how your day is broken down and why the SLA is that specific timing and therefore justified for you to do not produce it within a shorter period of time. You will reduce your stress level and allow the quality of your task to be meeting the required standards. We mentioned the win-win situation, right?
To conclude, I’m sticking with the checklist to be reminded to treat everyone like my number one partner. Would consistency leave no room for mistakes? We aren’t dreaming of perfection here, we are highlighting that realistically, the only way to maintain a solid relationship is to be a solid partner. And whilst even rocks can fall, the key is to always find a reliable ground to bounce back from.