What are the Benefits of a Long-Term Business Relationship?

Recently I read a good article in PsychologyToday.com by Alice Boves, Ph.D., about some hidden benefits of being in a long-term intimate relationship.  Cats showing love - Arielle Jay - Morgue Files

Benefits of being in a long-term intimate relationship

  • You feel and internalize your partner’s positive judgments about you.
  • You support each others’ health needs and actions
  • Attachment brings a sense of security
  • You enjoy shared memories
  • You help to correct each others’ “thinking biases”

Now this article was focused on the benefits of long-term marriage and long-term intimate relationships.  But have you ever thought about the hidden benefits of maintaining an “intimate” relationship with your clients, patients, potential clients, colleagues, joint venture partners and business associates?

Marketers and savvy sales people sometimes cite the financial benefits gained from customers who have already purchased from you compared to new customers for which there is a certain amount of advertising cost.  PeopleMetrics.com published an article which explains how long-term customers benefit a company. 

Benefits of having long-term clients and customers

  • Long-term clients/customers provide a stable form of dependable direct income.

      Calculate the long term income in the following way:

“Multiply the customer’s average purchase by the number of purchases they make per year, and then multiply for five, ten or twenty years.”

  • Long-term clients/customers lower your marketing, advertising and sales budget.

Long-term customers who stick around for years usually “recommend your business to their friends and families, effectively doing your recruiting work for you.”

  • “Customers [clients] who choose to use an organization [therapist] after receiving a recommendation are more engaged and more forgiving than those that come to you blind.”
  • Long term customers/clients require lower operating costs because they understand how your system works and “require less hand holding from your staff.”

“A five percentage point increase in customer retention in a typical company will increase profits by more than 25%, and growth by more than 100%!”

THE BOTTOM LINE IS TO NURTURE PEOPLE

The bottom line, the take away from research about the benefits of long-term intimate relationships and long-term business relationships is that we gain most by nurturing the people we already know.  I am always a bit perturbed when I see a company for which I have been a long-term, loyal customer, offering a huge discount or special discount only for new customers.  What about me?  What about my loyalty and steady payment to that company?

The same holds true for long-term intimate relationships.  How often do we find a husband or wife flirting with or admiring a total stranger, sharing intimate emotional details with a co-worker, showing caring and consideration for someone they hardly know yet being impatient, intolerant, and even disinterested in the one who has been loyal, caring and supportive?

Businesses that thrive and continue to grow, and manage to keep their employees engaged, find a way to nurture their customers and value their long-time employees.  Couples that thrive in long-term relationships have discovered the key to nurturing both the relationship and each other.  They find a way to grateful for what works and to compensate or overlook minor irritations and discomforts. 

  • How have you nurtured your long-term customers or clients?
  • How have you nurtured your long-term intimate partner?
  • How have your nurtured your long-term friends and family relationships?

Please leave a comment below and share your thoughts and responses.

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drerica

Dr. Erica Goodstone is a Spiritual Relationship Healing Expert helping men and women heal their bodies and their relationships through love.For several years she has posted hundreds of articles, blogs, radio shows, videos and shared there on all the major social media channles.Having presented her comprehensive relationship healing programs throughout the U.S. and Canada over several decades, she has helped literally 1000's of men and women to heal through learning how to love.Online she continues to expand her message globally.Dr. Erica believes "Where There is Love There IS a Way".When you love, accept, listen and pay attention to your body, trust your own sense of what you truly desire,and strive to understand, appreciate and really know the other people in your life, anything and everything is possible.As therapists, none of us can do it all alone.We can work together to create a healthier, happier world.
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60 thoughts on “What are the Benefits of a Long-Term Business Relationship?

  1. Donna Merrill

    Hi Erica,

    What a great analogy of a long term intimate relationship and a business one. I have to say that over the past 30 some odd years, I have build many intimate relationships with my clients. I help them, and also their families. There is a huge trust factor between us.

    Because of this, word of mouth spreads and I never had to advertise in that business. They keep on coming to this day. It is because I extend extra time with them. Will be there if there is an emergency in their life.

    Taking this concept to the online world is the same. My clients there, know they can contact me for help if they are in a situation that needs immediate attention. I do have my boundaries but it is all clear to them.

    I get more traction for my online business because of word of mouth than anything else. We do need to treat each and every person we work with with an open heart and always look out for their best interest. I even had some asking me to purchase a product I have done and told them no….you are not ready for that. So, they honor my honesty and that goes a long way!

    -Donna

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Donna,

      I have watched you build your relationships by going the extra mile, sharing openly and helping to promote others regularly. It is all about relationship building, no matter if it is personal, family or business.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  2. Zach

    What a great application for a study with no surprising results (I don’t know that the study, which confirms what we all would have guessed, is that newsworthy by itself). Applying it to the business world is a great idea and is even more reason to maintain those relationships.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Zach,

      True, the results are not surprising when you think about long term love relationships. But when we think about business, so many people miss the mark. One of my pet peeves is when a company with which I have been a loyal customer for years decides to offer a tremendous special discount only for new customers, people who have not been loyal and have not spent the amount of time and money I have spent with and for that company. Sometimes, that alone causes me to leave and choose a different company. The special discounts should be offered to the loyal customers, not to the potentials.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
      1. Zach

        Indeed. Companies are sometimes so focused on finding new businesses, that they forget to nurture their existing relationships. And those existing relationships are often the best source of new business.

        Reply
        1. drerica Post author

          Zach,

          I just saw this again. One of my web site is hosted by company that is charging $20/month less for new people for the first year while there is no reward for long term customers. Not good when the long term customers see that.

          Warmly,

          Dr. Erica

          Reply
  3. Willena Flewelling

    Dr Erica, I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that attachment and security are related. Having lost my father when I was 7, my stepfather when I was 20, and my first husband when I was 25… and having moved around so much in my younger years, I felt a serious lack of security and didn’t feel as if I belonged anywhere. Now, having been married to a wonderful man for 33 years, and having 7 kids who scarcely gave a moment’s serious worry, I can honestly say I know the difference.

    Long term relationships in friendships and in business will gives that same sense of stability, and growth.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Willena,

      It is not just the longevity of a long term relationship but the building of caring and trust. I have had some long term relationships with friends who are difficult, demanding, self-centered, and it does not really get better over time. In fact, I have become less tolerant of their behaviors and attitudes. And I have had some newer friends that are always a delight to spend time with because they are so thoughtful and caring and provide a sense of comfort, solace and wisdom to our interactions. I imagine you would be like that if we spent time chatting over tea or coffee.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
      1. Willena Flewelling

        Thank you, Erica. 🙂 Yes, I see what you mean about building caring and trust. The longevity of a relationship only becomes apparent after the passage of time. But caring and trust are felt all along the way, and make for a strong relationship. Friends like that are priceless.

        Reply
        1. drerica Post author

          Willena,

          Friendships and business relationships build over time. There needs to be a lot of authentic communication and acceptance of each others’ needs and styles and a willingness to listen and understand.

          Warmly,

          Dr. Erica

          Reply
  4. BeckyW

    Hi Dr. Erica-

    I love this post! I have always believed in nurturing business relationships. It’s important to make them want to come back and do business with you. At the same time some clients you can just tell will be a one time job, but even then it is important to have open communication and keep your ‘name’ positive.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Becky,

      For me it is such a relief when a company nurtures their business relationship with me instead of only treating brand new and potential customers that way. Customer service is essential and offering value wherever they can. My goal is to do the same.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  5. Pritam Nagrale

    Hi Dr Erica ,
    Well written post on Business relationship.
    I really liked Points you have mentioned here , I think every long relation be it with family, friends or business always gives you benefits. It is very important to maintain good relationship with every one .
    In blogging Industry we all recognised by our writings, posts we hardly met any one here but then too there are many bloggers who supports other bloggers .
    They promote their services . products , do promotions .

    This is just because of maintaining good relation with them .

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post .

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Pritam,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the importance of building relationships online. You are right that we may not meet many of our online friends in person but we do support each other if we grow to trust and understand what the person is offering.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  6. Monna Ellithorpe

    Hi Erica,

    What a great post. Never thought of business relationships in comparison to personal relationships but thanks for pointing out this. It does make total sense.

    Thanks for sharing your insights and a different view of engagement with clients.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Monna,
      Relationships are everything and everywhere. Our task is to make the most of them whenever we can.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  7. Miriam Slozberg

    Thank you so much for putting this out there. It makes total sense to compare business relationships to personal relationships. Open communication is so important for business and personal reasons, and it is very important to nurture those relationships. It creates trust and many times long term business.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Miriam,

      The old fashioned way of business has often been to take advantage and put one over on the consumer. But times have changed and the internet provides a level playing field. Here, people value authenticity and getting the best deal – and – customer service. Showing you care is essential in a business relationship and even more so within a personal and intimate relationship.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  8. Chery Schmidt

    Hello Dr Erika, What a great post! I also believe we should build those special relationships with our customers/clients and have been doing this for years.

    Word of mouth is such a good thing HUH? Now we wouldn’t want them to spread bad news Right? Of course not, so yes is always good to build those long term relationships.
    Thanks for sharing and do have an Awesome Holiday Weekend Ahead..
    Chery :))

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Chery,

      I have watched you build some relationships and that is definitely the way to go.
      Why would any of us want to do business with someone who shows they don’t care.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  9. Joan Harrington

    Hi Erica 🙂
    100% agree on all of your points that you have explained here in detail! Thank you for always providing valuable tips and strategies that are so easily implemented 🙂 There are tons of benefits of building a long term business relationship and all of the tips you have outlined have definately hit the nail on the head!

    Thanks again!!

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Joan,
      We have to pay attention to the relationships we are building, over time, instead of focusing all our attention on the immediate quick one time payment.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  10. David Merrill 101

    You make excellent recommendations here, Dr. Erica.

    It’s so much more efficient and effective to take care of existing customers, than to always have to go hunting for new ones.

    I agree, too, that I’m always so annoyed when companies offer great “specials” for “new customers only.” In other words, we’ve got your business already, and you’re not going anywhere. So you’re not worthy of any special treatment.

    This sort of marketing always gets me to go shopping for a new company to give my business to.
    Loyalty programs, on the other hand, have just the opposite effect. It’s good to build them into your business structure.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Yes, I have been upset when I am a loyal customer, with no rewards, and a totally new person gets a big discount.
      And it is so important to nurture your current customers and clients, the people who have already shown interest in what you offer.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  11. Sue Bride

    Clients I’ve become close to have been my best source for new clients.Word of mouth is powerful for developing any business. My closer social media contacts are also a great direct source for sales or they introduce me to people and communities that have helped me grow my network and clients. Thank you for your help with the latter, Erica.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Sue,
      You have learned the importance of building relationships over time. So many people online just post their link in a community and expect to receive lots of attention, without having to reciprocate. For example, people I have had very little interaction with, if any, suddenly ask me for a LinkedIn Recommendation. They haven’t taken the time to really connect with me and perhaps offer to write a recommendation for me. I prefer building relationships first and when I know someone well and trust that they do what they say they do, then I am happy to write a recommendation, especially if they are willing to reciprocate.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  12. Lesly Federici

    Hi Erica,
    You’re exploding with love for others and wanting to nurture them in their lives and in business. We’ve known each other a long time .. and seeing what you’ve accomplished is gratifying . Relationships change through the years and I know with my husband of 23 years of marriage it’s become more of a caring friendship. But I certainly believe nurturing, being supportive brings out the best in people, it’s magical and more people that I’ve worked with accomplish so much more than they normally would… I love being a catalyst for positive transformations …

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Lesly,
      Yes, I have observed you working with others and helping them to get over those humps and finally start putting their work out into the world. It is so gratifying to be the catalyst – and – it has also brought you many loyal friends and customers.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  13. Erika Mohssen-Beyk

    This is a very good post ,it is true having a good relationship in business is as positive as
    in private life . I think we will find always the people who somehow fit to us if we are supportive and and caring, they will stay with us .I think especially for coaches or therapists it is important to be comfortable
    and trusting with each other. But also in other business ,I had a store in Germany and most of my
    customers came ,because others recommended my business. People feel if we care and do what we love
    and not holding back to do more to their benefit. Being positive and kind always works .
    Thank you
    Erika

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Erika,

      We are preaching to the choir. You are one of those people that freely gives of your time, energy and support. And in the long run, it pays off. People trust you. I would prefer to do business, any type of business, with someone I trust, someone who gives freely and truly wants to do their best and help.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  14. BG Jenkins

    Hi Dr. Erica,

    Unfortunately, many times that is what happens in relationships. It seems that after years together in families, or in business, people appear to become invisible to others. It is definitely something that needs to be considered and corrected. Loyal and loving people should be treated with honor and respect. Great post.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      BG,

      Loyal and loving people are harder to love. In this crazy world, we tend to be more attracted to difficult people, spending our time and energy trying to get them to cooperate and to care about us. At this point, I want to only surround myself, in work and in personal friendships, with people who are caring, conscientious and willing to give more than they expect to receive.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  15. Kathryn Maclean

    Hi Erica,
    What an eye-opening post!
    While I do know about long-term intimate relationships, married for many years, a 30 year relationship.
    A long-term relationship that is nuturing to both of us, it has become a wonderful friend-ship and business partnership. I have yet to establish long-term business relationships where I gain the most by nurturing the people I already know. Having clients as long as the relationship I have with my husband likely is not possible, I would be in my nineties lol However long term customers is a great goal.
    Thanks for the insight!

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Kathryn,

      Long term customers does not necessarily mean 30 years. Even a few months or a few years becomes a long term customer as opposed to always seeking new people who don’t yet know you. The trust builds rather quickly when you offer value and speak authentically.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  16. Jenni Ryan

    I absolutely agree. Nuturing relationships is so important in good business practice. Those people that learn to make this a key part of how they do business will always have far better results than those that don’t.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Jenni,

      I wish more businesses understood this. And that goes for intimate relationships. So many of us take our partner for granted and look outside of the relationship as if there is something better out there.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  17. Andy Lockhart

    Dr Erica

    Great article, it is always cheaper to maintain a customer and acquire new ones. So once you have customers keeping them happy and coming back for more is always important. That is regardless of industry.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Andy

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Andy,

      You are so right. Once you have built a relationship with a customer it is usually easier than starting over with a new person. Works the same way in intimate relationships.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  18. Lillian De Jesus

    Hi Dr. Erica,

    This was a great analogy. Nurturing personal and business relationships are key. This reminds of when I started working in my early years as a customer service representative. When you take the time with people they know you care and can sense the type of person you are. These relationships built over time and years past then customers would ask for me by name. That’s truly when you know you have a nurtured relationship when people feel comfortable to go to you with their problems.

    Thanks for sharing this! It’s a great reminder to nurture all of the relationships we have in life.

    Take care,
    Lillian

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Lillian,

      You obviously provided excellent customer service and people appreciated your efforts. I find that in all types of situation – restaurants, gas stations, digital products, etc. Whenever there is a product or service and a customer. And so often I see people offering specials to potential customers while ignoring their loyal and steady customers or not attending to a client or customer’s complaints and concerns.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  19. Anant Thakur

    Really nice breakdown of the benefits of having a long term business relationship.
    I have some long term clients but I’ve never realized this or thought so deep.
    Thank you for amazing insights and a fresh perspective.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Anant,
      That is a good sign that you have some long term clients. We have to appreciate our long term clients instead of giving all the discounts and specials to potential customers, which many companies do.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  20. Juha

    Building customer relationship takes time but often the profits are following 80/20 – rule: 80% of the profits are coming from 20% customers. This is why you should care and nurture your business relationships, because old and loyal customer is much better than handful of one-off – customers who bring their business to you once and then won’t return.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Julia,
      You are so right. It is much easier to nurture your loyal customers than to reach out to people who are new or maybe purchased one time.
      Our customers love to be appreciated. I hate it when a company I have been loyal to is giving something free or discounted to new people and no benefit to their long time customers.

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  21. sanjeev

    Long term relation is important everywhere .Long term relation is important for business and personal reasons. Long term relation is a proof of our reliability and trust. Thanks for sharing your great view. You are doing a business and have a long term relation with clients it show that you are reliable .you have a long relation with your partner it mean you’re not a cheater.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Sanjeev,

      We don’t often realize at first that every relationship has the potential to be long-term and we should treat each person as if we will know them for a long time. Think how much kinder and more considerate we would be.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  22. William Earl Amis Jr III

    Dr. Erica you have given me the clarity I was praying for!

    I thought of myself as a bit clinging. When it comes to my business relationships. No matter what and how much time may past. I make it a choice to never stop being one who keeps in touch. May it be calling, writing or sending a snail postcard. I love to be unique and have it natural.

    Just as making the choice to first start a relationship in business. May it be clients/customers who will soon become a friend. How deep that friendship goes is a natural process when you are not trying to hustle someone.

    Being ethical will help develop natural nurturing relationships. I must admit that female owners make the best nurturers naturally given that ability without overthinking the how to’s.

    Thanks for sharing and care for all of us. This was one of you best shares and to the point!

    Reply
  23. Mark

    What a truly great comparison Dr..Erica!

    And sadly, you see for too many otherwise extremely savvy repeat
    this exact same misstep over and over again!

    Isn’t it amazing just how much the lines between building a long
    term business and intimate relationship, actually blur!

    You can learn an awful lot about both, once you peel back a few layers of the onion!

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Mark,

      I just had a direct comparison of 2 companies I deal with. One is a web hosting service, offering a special $20 discount of monthly fees for an entire year – only for new customers. What about rewarding long time customers? I am not finished yet – I will be sending them my reactions, as I did many years ago when I saw that. At that time they finally conceded and gave me the same discount.

      The other company, one of my professional organizations, just offered me a huge discount on not one but 2 of my professional associations – and – they are promoting me in their next newsletter because they really want to keep me as a member.

      Which one of these organizations do you think has gained my loyalty and respect?

      Warmly,

      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  24. Mansi Padhya

    Hi Erica,

    Great post. your post is very helpful. I really liked Points you have mentioned here. It’s true having a good relationship in business is as positive as
    in private life.
    Thanks for advice and guide and sharing your experience.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Mansi,
      We cannot succeed in business without creating relationships. Nobody wants to do business, especially ongoing business, with someone they don’t know and have not learned to trust. And there are many ways we can encourage others and help them to believe in themselves or we can be judgemental and cause them to perform poorly. Each of us has a huge effect upon others if we only realize this and understand the value of learning how to create wonderful productive and fulfilling relationships.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  25. Simran

    Dr. Erica, I totally agree with your article. Companies are sometimes so focused on finding new businesses, that they forget to nurture their existing relationships. And those existing relationships are often the best source of new business. I agree wholeheartedly with the idea that attachment and security are related.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      simran,

      Individuals and companies don’t realize how important it is to build long term relationships, to often think beyond the current moment. The effect of our words and actions, both positive and negative, now can be felt many months, even years, later.

      Warmly,
      Dr. Erica

      Reply
  26. Joan J. Carrigan

    Recognize accurately what to say in one minute or less—to prove you are the best adviser a client can find and create a marketing strategy that emphasize action over planning.

    Reply
    1. drerica Post author

      Well that is certainly a great skill to have, to be able to prove you are the best advisor so quickly.
      But it takes a long time for a customer to know they are being well-served and there is no quick fix formula for that.

      Dr. Erica

      Reply

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