On Fridays I answer questions about networking, sales, business development, marketing or PR that I hear during the week.
Today's question comes from Bryan in Austin, Texas:
"How do you repair a business relationship that has gotten off to a bad start, or has been damaged?"
Often times when we are dealing with people we might get off to rocky start or have an incident that causes the relationship to go south. The best way to handle this is to address the problem in a fast and straight-forward manner. Approach the other person and directly discuss the negative situation.
If you are at fault (even partially), then apologize. If it is not your fault, but the other person's perception is that you are at fault, then admit to a misunderstanding, and apologize for your part in the mis-communication.
Some people are petty and will never give you a second chance. These people are rare. Most will accept your attempt to remedy the situation. If they will not, then you are better off without them. Still be polite when you see them, but realize that people like that are small-minded and move on. Don't waste your energy on people who are above accepting an apology.
If you are able to repair a business relationship, you must pay special attention to make sure that you are careful not let there be any other problems. Most people will forgive you once, but the smart ones will never forgive you twice.
Have A Great Day.