If you’ve ever been a witness to a great business to business relationship, chances are you didn’t even notice it. That’s how great business relationships work. As a customer, you reap the benefits of positive business relationships every time a business refers you to another business. When you try to book a hotel that’s full, if they’ve got a great relationship with another similar hotel in the area, they have the ability to make reservations for you and ensure that you’re well taken care of, even if they can’t take care of you themselves. This ensures you stay a happy and satisfied customer while at the same time it strengthens the hotel’s business to business relationship. These kinds of relationships don’t simply happen overnight, however. Business relationships take time to build. Just like relationships between humans, good business relationships are based on things like trust, reliability, honesty and balance.

Lack of Reciprocation Is Unbalanced

Just as with human relationships, a lack of reciprocation is unbalanced and indicative of a one-sided relationship rather than a partnership where the participants see each other as equals. If one business continually provides another with assistance, leads, referrals and resources while the other business does not reciprocate, eventually the business relationship will sour. The business that continually gives will either begin to request some kind of reciprocation or will stop sharing with the business that continually benefits from the relationship without giving back. Additionally, staff belonging to the business that’s on the giving end may start to resent or bad-mouth the receiving business, wondering why they always have to help out the other business or its staff when the flow doesn’t go both ways.

Reciprocation Demonstrates Care and Trust

When businesses share resources and make referrals to other businesses, it demonstrates that they both care about and trust the businesses with whom they’re sharing. As a business, when you offer resources or assistance to another business, you’re showing care and concern for the health and well being of that business. You’re also creating a positive impression of your own business in the eyes of customers and opening the door for increased sales and profits when the other business refers customers to you and or promotes or thanks you for your assistance. When you refer customers to another business, you’re putting your trust in that business. In a balanced business relationship, that business will put its trust in you as well, giving you customer referrals or leads when it has the opportunity.

Reciprocation Builds a Community

When businesses share resources and make referrals to other businesses, it demonstrates that they both care about and trust the businesses with whom they’re sharing. As a business, when you offer resources or assistance to another business, you’re showing care and concern for the health and well being of that business. You’re also creating a positive impression of your own business in the eyes of customers and opening the door for increased sales and profits when the other business refers customers to you and or promotes or thanks you for your assistance. When you refer customers to another business, you’re putting your trust in that business. In a balanced business relationship, that business will put its trust in you as well, giving you customer referrals or leads when it has the opportunity.

Reciprocation Builds a Community

As businesses grow together and build balanced partnerships with each other, they create a community. This makes for a win-win-win experience for everyone involved-both of the businesses and also their customers. Additionally, sharing resources among small and local businesses helps foster small business growth within a community. Because small businesses are frequently bootstrapped, building positive relationships with other businesses can sometimes mean the difference between staying afloat and closing one’s doors.

Conclusion

If you want to increase your sales and enhance your reputation, begin reciprocal relationships with other businesses in your area. Call businesses that provide similar services and see if you can begin a referral program for instances when one business is unable to provide service to your existing customers. Outreach to complementary businesses to find out if there’s a way that you can promote both businesses together to increase volume for the both of you.