• Maureen O'Toole

Preventing Business Relationship Breakups

What I’m Thinking About: “Dating” Clients

Dan says “We need to go on a few “dates” with possible clients to see if we are a good fit. Before providing a business proposal, Dan and I meet with potential clients to see if the relationship is a good match. Sometimes it’s an instant fit. Sometimes it takes a few “dates” to understand if and how we can help facilitate growth and success. Sometimes there’s no match. Recently we spent the better part of the day with a potential client. We enjoyed the time with lively conversation about business, family and more. After we parted ways with the CEO and COO, Dan looked at me and said with a smile, “Not our client.” We realized on the first “date” that wouldn’t turn into a business relationship.

Why You Might Be Thinking About This: Not Everyone is Your Client

Sustainable interpersonal relationships require a cultural fit or readiness to accommodate differences, compatible needs and wants, healthy communication, and willingness and ability to commit. Similarly, a great match between a provider and long-term client involves more than just providing a solution or meeting a need. A great partnership also involves building strong relationships based on: cultural compatibility, establishing clear expectations, healthy communication, ability to commit and good timing. Taking time to identify if those elements are present in a potential business partnership can prevent Business Relationship Breakups.

Why It’s Worth Thinking About: Business Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Just like in romantic dating, sometimes a few “dates” into building a provider-client relationship, the relationship unravels. Perhaps a potential client needs a product or service you provide but isn’t ready to commit due to financial reasons, organizational changes, emergency situations, a cultural mismatch, not being to resolve respective expectations, and/or a variety of other reasons.

Romantic break ups lead to sadness and heartbreak. Business partner break ups can create sadness, tension, financial loss, confusion and workplace stress. Without investing partnership compatibility, a business break-up is much more likely. Having a process to assess whether or not a business relationship is well-matched can prevent business breakups.

Ready to have effective business dating? The Sandbox Group is ready to help you.