By Maria Thimothy, senior consultant at OneIMS who helps businesses grow by creating and capturing demand and managing and nurturing relationships.
From delivering bad news to a punchline, it is safe to say that timing is everything and can be the difference between success and failure. The same is true in business. Often, we are so keen to capitalize on a business relationship that we fail to see that it may not be the right moment. If your timing is off, it could be the difference between fostering a relationship or freezing it. To help keep your timing on track, it is good practice to maintain an interval of at least several weeks between business interactions to keep from appearing pushy or aggressive. Although you are the best judge of when you should and shouldn’t pursue business opportunities, here are just a few examples of what to do in situations when erring on the side of caution can be to your advantage.
When You Want To Upsell
If there was ever a moment in business that is time sensitive, it is upselling. Once a client or business partner has transacted with your company, they have the potential to be your repeat client, especially for new products or services. However, if you approach them too soon, it may give the impression that you are less interested in providing them with something they need and instead only see them as a cash cow. A good approach is to introduce a product as an idea or concept before you attempt to actually sell it. This offers people a chance to think it over before they agree to part with any money. It also opens a conversation with your client about what additional needs they may have that you could potentially help fulfill.
When You Just Closed A Deal
Once you have successfully closed a deal, it is hard not to start thinking about the next steps to parlay your win into further profits. Even if you have the best intentions to create a mutually beneficial partnership or are hoping to get a referral, contacting a client or partner too soon after closing a deal can make you appear predatory rather than collaborative. Instead of pushing for the next opportunity, you should focus on building trust through aftercare. Spend time checking in with clients about how their business is faring and how the product or service you provided them is working out. Investing this time and effort into creating a lasting business relationship will naturally result in repeat business, as well as those referrals you are hoping to generate.
When Someone Just Got Acquired
Whether your client or partner has acquired a new company or has been acquired themselves, contacting them too soon after the merger may do more harm than good to your relationship. Integrating businesses and managing change is a stressful time for everyone involved and is often a time of financial and management upheaval. If you know that an acquisition has just occurred, it is best to contact your client or partner to simply check in. Rather than offering any specific product or service, you want to let them know you are there for them should they require any support. This is a good way to get an idea of where they are as a business and to demonstrate that you value your partnership. Make yourself valuable to them during the transition period and they will most likely introduce you to the new company and keep you in mind for future collaboration.
Take Your Time
While it is tempting to push ahead in business to make the best deals and improve profits quickly, it should never be at the expense of your business relationships. Sometimes taking a step back and giving space to clients or partners to consider your ideas, or even taking time to work on developing rapport with them, can add more value to your long-term bottom line than going in for a hard sell or push for collaboration.