Recently I have the opportunity to discuss sales strategies with sales stars from all over the globe. The interesting thing that kept jumping out during the discussions was the importance of building strong relationships with customers and prospects. And, the higher the level the person in the relationship the better the business opportunities.
Here’s the facts, more business comes to sales people who have developed strong relationships with decision makers or important decision influencers. Too often, a sales person makes numerous calls on lower level personnel, get beat up with requests and price cuts, only to lose the business to a higher priced competitor who has a relationship built with a decision maker.
How does this happen? Well, it simple in the explanation and execution. The competitor built or had a stronger relationship with a decision maker who chose the competitor’s solution over yours. This is a psychologically effective sales strategy.
After thinking about this concept, applying it to client situations and then bringing it home with our own company’s success and failures in sales – I have to agree with this statement in full.
How does this work? When you build a strong relationship you create a champion who wants you to win whenever possible. They will listen to your suggestions, ideas and solutions – even to the point of guiding you to the best alternative to ensure getting the contract. Why does this part happen?
Again, it’s pretty simple, not easy mind you, but simple. When you have built a real relationship with a key person in an organization there are few factors in play. Those include the following:
- Respect – Actually this is mutual respect because you cannot receive respect unless you also give respect to others. Therefore, respect is deep rooted and authentic.
- Likable – People need to find you likable – as in someone I like to be around, be seen with and can identify with as a good thing. Here’s a fact – no one does business with someone that they don’t like!
- Trust – This is the most important bond in human relations. Trust is the ultimate factor in building relationship. Others have to understand what you stand for and that you will be doing the right things for them and the organization.
- Integrity – A factor that includes honesty and always doing the right thing. I find that integrity also gets you to take action when things may not be politically correct or the reporting of unethical behaviors by either team.
There are additional factors that you want to uncover that will assist you in building great relationships with key individuals at your customer or prospects business. There are many mutual benefits to having great business relationships. I will touch on others points in later posts.
In the meantime, make it an objective or goal to build a minimum of five new relationships over the next month. Don’t even think about selling these people, just get to know them. The more you work at knowing them, the more they will want to know you. Take time to do it right.