10 Ways to Kill a Business Relationship

It’s no secret that people only do business with people that they know, like and trust. Building business relationships takes a lot of effort and time. However, it only takes moments to quickly ruin a business relationship; all that time and hard work down the drain forever. It is also very hard to regain someone’s trust after tainting a business relationship.

Don't offend business associates

Let’s take a look at 10 ways to kill a business relationship:

1. Failure to deliver.

Let’s face it, even as a kid we hated broken promises. As adults we don’t want to be let down either, especially in business relationships. Don’t promise big things, get others excited to invest in an idea, and then not follow through. It’s great to dream big, but unless you are willing to work hard enough to make something a reality, don’t get other people invested in your idea. Keep your word.

2. Primarily a taker.

If all you ever do is take and not give this will become noticeable. If you’re always asking for help from others, but are never offering help in return, this is a sure-fire way to make others drop their relationship with you. It is way more important to be a giver than a taker.

3. Failure to provide value.

You have to show others that your work is valuable to them. People are willing to put up with even a few hiccups if you prove that you are valuable to them. We are all human so mistakes are expected, however, constant mistakes that prove you are pretty much worthless is a definite way to kill your business relationship. This is not just a one hit wonder folks; you have to constantly prove your value to others whether it is giving referrals or meeting/exceeding set goals.

4. Silence is not always golden.

As far as B2B relationships, a big killer is silence. If you stop talking or responding people get antsy. They will look for something/someone else. As long as you’re talking people (again) will put up with a lot. Change is hard so we avoid it at all costs, but when we sour on a relationship we start looking elsewhere and the idea gets easier and easier. You have to maintain regular communication with people.

5. You’re a Debbie Downer. Most people say I’m always smiling when they say and I say why not?! Nobody likes someone who is always negative. Everyone loves someone who is fun to be around. We have all been around that person that is always complaining. Everything is not always doom and gloom people! If you’re happy then others will be happy even in stressful situations.

6. You Sell Too Much.

Nobody wants a used car salesmen around them constantly. You will most definitely turn others off if all they ever see is you trying to sell your services and products. People want to get to know YOU so sell yourself first. After you build a trust and relationship with people, then they will make a purchase from you.

7. You don’t listen.

If you don’t care about what others have to say, you are setting yourself up for failure. Take the time to listen to what others say. If you listen you can find out what their concerns and needs are. If you come across as arrogant without any care as to what others have to say this will kill any chance you have of a business relationship.

People don’t want to be around someone who only talks about themselves. People take comfort in being heard and acknowledged. This shows that you actually care about them. Give people your FULL attention.

8. You lack credibility.

Remember people are always looking for ways to verify your credibility. What better way to solidify your credibility than to utilize your current and past clients. These can be your best brand ambassadors, so use them! Get testimonials from them and use them for case studies to show that you work for them has helped them achieve and exceed their goals. This will help you gain new business and the respect of new clients.

9. Don’t be disrespectful and rude.

People judge you by your actions so don’t be disrespectful to others and yourself by being rude and obnoxious. Nobody wants to be around someone like this. Be genuine, but also be genuinely nice to others. Do not be offensive. While everyone does not always share the same beliefs, it is a good rule of thumb to be considerate of others. I say if it would offend your mother or grandmother, then you probably should not do it, or tweet about it for that manner.

10. Failure to take responsibility.

Don’t play the blame game. If you screw up then you need to own that screw up. We are all human and make mistakes. If you don’t own up to your mistake and take responsibility then it makes you appear unprofessional and completely immature. Do not make excuses. People will respect you so much more if you actually admit your wrongdoing and show them that you have learned from the mistake, with a clear outline as to how you will correct the problem in the future.

Image Credit: Shutterstock Radharani

About Lynn Strickland

Lynn Strickland first took the dive into digital marketing in 2006. He has a diverse background including real estate, education and journalism. While he loves all areas of digital marketing, his true passion is social media. Follow him on Twitter: @lstrickland27.

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One Comment


The article could be titled “10 ways to kill ANY relationship…” Thank you for the reminders!

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