Nurturing Partnerships with Kyle Graham

What is it that you do here at Blackboard Coffee Roasters? 

I’m the Sales & Relationships Manager here at Blackboard Coffee.

Based on your experience what are the most important traits a relationships/sales manager should exercise?

A huge one for me is having the ability to ask questions and listen to your customers, rather than rave on about how good your business or product is. Your customer knows this already, otherwise, you wouldn’t be standing in front of them. 

Understand what their pressures are as business owners. You develop a strong relationship by listening and providing value to the customer. From my experience, providing value generally has nothing to do with the quality or how cheap your products are and everything to do with helping your customer solve a problem and assisting them where you can to run a more profitable business. 

Every engagement made with our partners should be mutually beneficial. A Win-Win. This fosters trust and a long-term relationship.

What should businesses be implementing in order to nurture their partnerships?

It’s hard with the madness of COVID-19 but recurring face to face meetings at a time that suits your customers. Each meeting should have purpose and provide benefit to your partnership. Find out what your customers' needs are and deliver a solution to those needs, don't feed them with how great your business is, they don't want to be sold to over and over. A customers needs can change daily in so many different areas of their business, so get creative and think outside the box and start learning about your customers.

In any time, but especially now what are you implementing to ensure your partners feel heard & supported?

I believe we can find a positive in every situation. Through this crisis, I have loved seeing how innovative and creative our partners have been, trying to adapt to the ever evolving trade guidelines. It has evolved how we all do business and I think it will for quite some time.

We are ensuring our partners feel supported and heard by bringing our community of good people closer together in a time of need. We’ve just gone live with our Cafe Partner series through our social channels. A series that will showcase a different partner each week in a Q and A style interview. Check it out if you haven’t yet!

We are doing what’s physically possible to help any of our partners that are going through hardship. One example of this was delivered through the form of business guidance in our Small Steps For Small Business Blog post. 

One initiative that I loved being apart of was teaming up with Bayleaf Cafe in Byron Bay. The legends put together 100 boxes of local produce that included a bag of our coffee to feed a local family in need for the week! 

Last but certainly not least. We shouted coffee and brekky, from one of our partners, Westbrew, for the nurses and medical staff of Tweed Hospital working on the Frontline during this crisis. We have set up a standing discount code for purchases online for all frontline workers. FRONTLINE (don't be a dick and use it if you aren’t an emergency services worker).

I personally, love the idea of creating a community of good people who are as proud to be working with Blackboard Coffee as we are to be working with them. Our partners have done an amazing job to ensure their communities are still enjoying their daily coffee ritual. Providing familiarity during a not so familiar time.

 

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