Some might call me ‘old school’ or outdated because they claim that relationship selling is dead. Not only would I disagree, I’d even argue that relationships are the most important factor for long-term success in sales. Luckily, according to our recent study on selling and technology, 98% of sales professionals agree.
Technology has certainly changed the sales landscape; I don’t deny that. Perhaps the confusion lies solely in one’s understanding of what a relationship is? Probably, but I think there’s more to it than that.
Let’s take a look.
Relationships between friends or those that are personal in nature don’t always withstand the demands of a professional exchange. A selling relationship is very complex and takes time to discover, create, and nurture. It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not a means to an end.
A successful selling relationship is personal, professional, creates value and builds trust. It’s these types of relationships that breed success. Here’s how to breathe life back into selling relationships:
Use existing customer relationships to discover new leads through warm introductions. Strong relationships with customers and clients can, in itself, be a direct path to a sea of new business.
Use search to your advantage and make it easy for leads to find you online. Today’s customers and clients do not have time to take your phone call and listen to your pitch, but they do have two minutes to search you online. It’s your job to make them want to connect with you in those two minutes. A strong online presence can spark new relationships with a single click of a mouse.
Avoid being static or passive online, instead build expertise and new business opportunities by creating and sharing relevant content through your website and social media platforms. In addition, develop a mailing list and use it to send relevant and targeted information to existing relationships.
Remain top of mind and remind your clients of the value you offer them.
Get out of your box every now and then and start attending conferences and events to create new relationships. The best relationships are yet to be made, so make the effort to connect and there’s no telling how much your bottom line will benefit.
Focus on building relationships with past clients, customers, suppliers and partners. People who’ve already enjoyed doing business with you are the most loyal relationships you have. Don’t let them go once the transaction is complete. Keep them engaged to drive more business and new introductions.
Spend time understanding your clients’ needs and wants to demonstrates your value and commitment to their success. This will foster relationships that are built on trust and will speed up the sales process.
Technology has indeed changed the way we do…well almost everything. It’s changed the way we work, date, travel, bank, communicate, meet people, nurture relationships and do business. Change is one thing in life that’s constant. But just because things change, it doesn’t mean that some things can’t be the same. Even though the way relationships are created and nurtured has changed, relationships still remain the foundation of sales success.
How do you use selling relationships to improve sales and/or grow business opportunities?