Building relationships requires time, effort and patience. It requires a strategy unique to each situation and prospect. It doesn’t mean developing a shrewd approach to ingratiate yourself with your prospects. If your approach is not heartfelt, it won’t work because people can see through a phony attitude. Successful companies and salespeople are service oriented with one goal in mind…getting the best and most for their money.
I’m sure most everyone is familiar with Southwest Airlines. Their focus is on building relationships and customer service and oh, by the way, they also fly airplanes!
Many salespeople go right into promoting their product or service as soon as they get the prospect’s attention instead of focusing on the relationship.
Most successful salespeople are relationship focused rather than sale focused. This is important before, during, and after the sale.
Tactics to remember:
- Listen more than you talk. This is the key to building relationships. As the saying goes, “You will never listen yourself out of a customer”
- Stop talking and ask questions-Asking questions begins the relationship, listening cements it
- Be generous with your time even before you make a sale. Treat them “as if” give them valuable information, give them referrals to their business and send a handwritten thank you…even without a sale
- Use tools to stay in touch- detailed notes you can refer to i.e. New baby, wedding, new floor. You would be surprised how you stand out of the crowd just by asking how their vacation was or how the wedding was or in one case for me, remembering that the reason the original appointment was rescheduled was because a new floor was being put down.
- Touch people without selling them i.e.congrats on an award, google alert or even a great article that reminded you of them. It’s not always about selling to them.
- Be consistent, persistent and professional. You want to be remembered for the right reasons
Selling is about building relationships. This cannot be said enough. Did you know that it costs 5x more to get a new customer than to keep an existing customer? Translation=there is value in long term relationships-they turn into repeat buyers and become your walking ambassadors.
Here is a great way to remember what selling relationships are all about:
R – Relax and be authentic-Being someone you’re not is the kiss of death
E – Excitement-Be excited about your product or service and the chance to serve others
L – Look-Look everyone in the eye and thank them for the opportunity to serve
A – Ask-Ask questions that will begin a discussion-In my 30 years in sales, I never sold anyone anything and yet I was the top producer and the top Agency Manager….I didn’t sell, I asked questions and had conversations
T – Talent-Use your talent to show how your product/service will make their lives easier/better…their life not yours
I – Invite-Invite them to experience your product/ service-for men give them the bullet points and for women paint them a picture
O – Objections-Don’t take this as a negative. Really a request for more information
N – Now-They do expect you to close. That is the purpose of sales isn’t it?
S – Solve-Solve unresolved problems by asking more questions
H – Help-Help them to buy if it’s appropriate. If not, help them to stay where they are
I – Inspire-Inspire them to feel good about their buying decision so that they will refer others
P – Partner-Become their partner and trusted advisor
Remember businesses don’t do business; people do business. Don’t miss out on the opportunities to develop relationships with a prospect because you are too focused on your sales pitch. Research confirms that companies and individuals who work hard at building and maintaining strong business relationships consistently outperform those who do not.