Vital, meaningful business relationships can turn average sales people into the top sales people in their industry. Lasting success in sales is more dependent on building and maintaining long-term business relationships than on acquiring specific prospecting, selling, and closing strategies.
Although it may seem like some people are just more fortunate than others when it comes to developing meaningful relationships, there are concrete things you can do to start building better business relationships today. When you train your sales people to make habits of the following actions, you will help them to build relationships that will serve them well for years to come.
Improve Listening Skills
Meaningful relationships are built on time and conversation, and conversation cannot be meaningful if you don't listen to what the other person has to say. Your sales people will win friends as they listen carefully to clients' thoughts, ideas, and concerns. You can help your sales people to be good listeners by training them to ask good questions that elicit thoughtful, in-depth responses.
Good listeners also follow up on answers to clients' questions by probing a little further: "So you're concerned about implementation? What are your specific concerns?" Questions like this allow clients to thoroughly think through their problems verbally, which is a gift not many of us get on a regular basis, and these questions also allow sales people to more effectively construct custom solutions.
Tell Personal Stories
You and your sales people can also build meaningful business relationships when you tell personal stories about situations that are similar to the ones your clients are facing. Personal stories allow clients to get to know you better, and this helps to build trust. But they also show your clients that you have experience with their challenges, and you have figured out how to overcome them. Be careful to not dominate conversations, however, and choose your personal stories carefully. When used appropriately, personal stories can be incredibly helpful in building meaningful relationships.
Sales appointments take time out of a busy person's life, and you should always show your gratitude for that time. Many sales people send thank you cards after an initial appointment, and this is a great practice to incorporate into your life, but it's also important to show gratitude to clients you've been working with for many years. This is part of maintaining relationships. Whether you send a card in the mail or treat a customer to lunch, these courtesies go a long way when it comes to meaningful relationships.
A birthday card in your mailbox, a note of congratulations for a promotion. These kind gestures build lasting relationships. Be genuine in your communication with clients, and remind them that you're thinking of them and have their best interests in mind.
By incorporating these habits into your day-to-day interactions with prospects and existing customers, you and your sales reps can build and maintain meaningful business relationships that will serve you well for many years. You will enjoy more referrals from your customers, and your network will expand, giving you more opportunities to be a good listener, tell personal stories, show gratitude, and be thoughtful.