Did you ever think that the first “sale” you need to think about is relationship selling? Well, you should.
Did you know that it costs more than five times as much to get a new customer as it does to keep an existing customer? That in itself should help you understand the value of building a relationship with your customers and turning them into both repeat buyers and spokespeople for your company. Word of mouth referrals are still one of the best ways to make new sales.
Relationship selling is all about building a friendship or relationship with your prospects and listening to their needs. Once you’ve built that relationship, shown you care, and earned their trust, you are on the road to making them a customer. Knowing their needs and finding out their secret fears (for example, your client may confide to you, “If I can’t make this project work within budget, my boss will probably replace me!”) can help you find solutions for them that are exactly on-target with their needs and build an even stronger relationship.
With a relationship in place, working out details is a breeze. Those details become obstacles if you don’t have the existing relationship.
Most people react negatively to high pressure sales. In relationship selling, high pressure is not typically part of the equation, simply because it’s hard to have a friendly relationship with a client who feels pressured by you.
In relationship selling, you become a form of support for your clients. Your services or products become something they depend on, and the more you can suit their needs and make their jobs easier, the better they will respond to additional sales offers. You’ll also find that relationship selling benefits companies that offer products in very competitive markets – particularly if there isn’t a lot of difference between products.
If you neglect a client who has trust in your integrity as a person and as a salesperson, that client may finally be forced to turn to your competitor. Make sure you not only build the relationship, but keep regular contact and keep all channels of communication open The lesson is to make sure you maintain contact and are always accessible to your clients, or you may find yourself having to replace them.
Your goal is to get them to come to the decision that working with your company is the right thing to do. This privilege needs to new earned. It will not just be handed to you on a silver platter. Once you change your mindset from entitlement to one of earning their respect, you may find that you will arrange your conversations with them a little differently. Many successes in life all come down to hard work, perseverance and the right attitude. One without the other will not bode well for you in the long run.
People want respect. Everything in your sales technique should have this in the mix. And once you do develop that positive business relationship with your client, you then have to treat it with kid gloves – making sure that you do not damage what you have worked so hard to build up.