updated 6/18/2014 6:45:52 PM ET 2014-06-18T22:45:52

Forming strong relationships in every area of life is an essential component to success. The relationships you've formed with various types of people in many different areas of your life can serve as a foundation for your creating strong ties with clients.

It's always worthwhile, though, to reflect on what truly makes a relationship last.

Forging solid business relationships seems simple on the surface, but these ties require time, effort and tact. Developing and maintaining these connections can sometimes feel draining and even burdensome, but the rewards can be significant. A personal connection, whether developed over weeks, months or years, can lead to positive word-of-mouth, increased sales, additional connections, job security and even more job satisfaction.

Keep the following tips in mind and strengthen the most important aspect of your business, the relationships you have with your customer base:

Related: Why Businesses Can't Afford to Upset Customers (Infographic)

1. Treat others the way you want to be treated. This classic lesson seems like the simplest of tasks: Yet it is often the one that's most forgotten. When engaging in business with a customer, it is important to put yourselves in their shoes and provide the same level of customer service and respect that you would expect.

2. Honesty is key. Stretching the truth about your products or services in any way can seriously hinder your reputation. If you are able to be honest and realistic about any services that your business cannot provide, your customers will appreciate this honesty more than you may realize and a foundation for a lasting relationship can develop.

Related: Gaining Customers' Trust Can Be Your Checkmate

3. Remember that your customers as people, not numbers. After your first conversation with a client, this is your chance to remember not only the name but something about the individual as a person. It is likely that remembering a fact about  will help you remember how your business can suit the person's needs. And these little details can have a big impact on building the relationship.

4. Keep things lighthearted. Nothing is more upsetting than asking for a product and having a small business clerk or owner be completely rude. Making fun of yourself will help the client feel more comfortable so that he or she can better open up to you about a need.

Related: Do You Have the Body Language of a Champion?

5. Be cognizant of your body language. People can tell, consciously and subconsciously, how you feel about being around them. Keeping your arms and legs uncrossed, smiling and making eye contact are all great ways to ensure that a customer remembers interacting with you.

Remember that each connection is unique and should be treated as such. Often the best tactic is to just be yourself and not overthink things. Take a genuine interest in a relationship and the rest will take care of itself.

While meaningful relationships, professional or otherwise, require significant time and effort to build, they often fall apart much more quickly. Take a relationship for granted, expect too much or appear apathetic, and rapport will deteriorate in a hurry.

Forming long-lasting, meaningful relationships is vital to any organization's success. So avoid these pitfalls and instead reap the rewards of positive, mutually beneficial business relationships throughout your career.

Related: When to Fire That, Er, Abusive or Disruptive Customer

Copyright © 2013, Inc.


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