In sales, there’s nothing more important for establishing repeat business than building and leveraging strong relationships to help you sell your products and services. Successful sales professionals realize that people buy from those they like and trust. However, having prosperous and sustainable relationships that will often develop into genuine friendships, requires knowledge, skill, and continuous effort.
Most anyone can generate one-time sales, but if you don’t work at it, your relationships, and therefore your business, is destined to fail. Although there are some things that aren’t totally in your control, there are many fundamental things you must do in order to develop strong, reliable, and long lasting business relationships. Here are the most important ones you can do right away:
- Listen And Learn – Understand your customers priorities and challenges, and how your solution will help them solve their particular problem. Discover what it will mean to them personally so you can relate to their needs. For example, your solution might help them achieve a defined goal, or they may be eligible for an added bonus, or perhaps a promotion.
- Be Reliable And Responsive – Complex sales campaigns have many moving parts where you will have to coordinate resources to address a variety of questions and concerns. To build credibility for yourself and your company, ensure that you consistently address all your customers needs in a prompt and efficient way.
- Deliver Value – Don’t make the mistake of taking your customer for granted. Be prepared and show respect by delivering value in each and every meeting and interaction to be certain your customer walks away believing it was a productive use of their time. Otherwise, they might not take your calls or meetings in the future.
- Be Yourself – Allow people to see that you are a human being and not a perfect sales representative. At the right time, show your actual personality, as well as your passion, hobbies, and interests in an unscripted way. No one wants to have a relationship with a sales rep, they want a caring person.
- Maintain Team Continuity – Building trusting relationships will take time. Minimize changes to your team to ensure continuity and also to reduce wasted time and effort for all.
- Be Honest And Trustworthy – These elements go hand in hand and you and your customer need to know you can trust one another. Deliver whatever you promise and never promise what you know you can’t deliver even if it means losing a sale. You will build loyal customers by keeping their best interests in mind at all times. Once broken, trust in you will probably never be regained. As in any relationship, trust is a fundamental element. Without it, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be successful in sales.
- Don’t Be Selfish – You should not limit your contact to pure sales related topics. Don’t forget to acknowledge special occasions for your customer like birthdays and holidays and other important events. Also, demonstrate that you care by helping your customer solve their problem with the best solution available, even if another company might win the business.
- Have Fun – Some of the strongest bonds are developed outside of the office. There’s definitely truth to the saying that many of the largest deals are closed on the golf course. While this type of activity may not be appropriate for you, the concept remains the same. By planning recreational time with your customer, you will not only show your appreciation for their business, you will add fun into the mix while building another critical dimension to your relationship.
As we discussed, there are lots of things you’re able to do to build and maintain highly effective, and prosperous relationships with your customers. By investing some extra effort, your customers will feel much more comfortable with you resulting in loyalty, commitment, and a rapid increase in sales.
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