Outsourcing is like a long-distance romantic relationship!

6 tips for managing your long distance outsourcing relationship

3.75 million married couples in the U.S. and 14 million couples around the globe are actually having a long-distance relationship because they work in other cities– so long-distance relationships can work! Here are six tips on what to watch for and how to handle your long-distance business relationship:

1) Have as much contact by phone as possible. Talk about things that make that person remember you and want to keep in touch with you. Share a business tip you read or some advice you need; ask for that person’s expertise. Demonstrate yours.

Voice alone–without skype– is a powerful tool, and will help you learn–way better than email–who that person is. Listen to the sound of the voice as well as what the person says. Too cold? Be careful. Keep it warm.

2) If the person is consistently late for the phone appointment and does not stay in touch, it’s a good bet you are not a priority. Be more careful about the work and see if the quality of the work also suffers in the same way. In business, you know there is always someone else…so go back to # 1 and make sure you are always on top of that person’s list. Send an email that is longer than a sentence and includes something upbeat, informative, and fun (a joke, an anecdote, an observation or question on something to do with where that person lives/ works). Make a note of the person’s response.

3) People worry. Communicate. Show that you are someone he/she can count on. If you are the person who is always late for a phone appointment, tell the other person why and commit to doing better. Then, do better! Keeping your promises makes you even more valuable and rare in today’s world. Show you can be trusted–and are able to give the honesty and value you demand of the other person.

4) More than 2/3 of long-distance relationships end when the couple does not plan for change. Be willing to listen to feedback and act on it. Try to accommodate the other party’s requests and point of view. Talk about changes in schedule calmly and respond positively. If you are disappointed, say so, and plan together to solve the problem. See what change this makes in the way the other party handles the work.

5) Maintain an equal position: your needs and time are as important as the other party’s. Ask a question by email and see if the other person answers it. Treat the other person as you would like to be treated. Respond to any agreed-upon concerns and get the respect you need by always following through on your part of the bargain.

6) Don’t give up your other business relationships and interests. In other words, stay in touch with other companies–just in case you need a new outsourcing partner. Most long-distance relationships have potential problems around 5 months in. Make this relationship work, but if you have tried everything and it ceases to work, be ready to move on.

(1) 3.75 million married couples in the US & 14 million globally have a long-distance relationship. #outsourcing
(2) In a long distance outsourcing relationship, if the other person doesn’t call much, you are not a priority!

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