You’ll read a lot in these pages about the importance of activity in driving great sales performance. And rightly so! Doing the right amount of activity, with the right people, with skill knowledge and enthusiasm should lead to high performance in sales. So what’s all this about relationships?
Let’s take a step back and consider the reasons that people buy. Yes they buy products and services to meet real needs, of course they do. But they also want to buy from people that they know and trust. Consider the outcomes of a recent client survey into what customers are looking for from service providers, in order:
- A provider that will fully understand their needs and their business.
- A provider who will endeavour to build a strong relationship with them, one that will preferably lead to partnership.
- Continuity of relationship manager.
Pricing generally comes somewhere after these 3 requirements.
So how do we go about building these relationships? If we look at the old axiom of ‘every best friend was once a perfect stranger’ it clearly takes some effort. Here are some ideas:
- First and foremost, look at you own behaviour. Are you desperately trying to sell your products and services at the first meeting or are you trying to understand their needs? You wouldn’t hard sell to a friend, so why would you do it to a prospect?
- Send messages that you want to build a close relationship and that you’re here for the long haul. Tell them, and reflect it in your behaviour.
- Give sound advice and add value to them and their business. Don’t always charge for it.
- Get in touch regularly. How can you build a relationship if you’re not in touch??? Speaking to people once a year isn’t a relationship.
- Understand their needs. REALLY understand their needs. Sell them solutions, not products.
- Include them in your network. Refer new prospects to them.
- For prospects treat them as you treat your customers. Prospects are customers who aren’t customers yet.
The key phrase above is that ‘people buy from people that they know and trust.’ Look to build strong relationships with all of your customers and prospects, we believe you’ll be well rewarded for your efforts.