With the advent of automation and artificial intelligence, the human factor has slowly depreciated in sales. But is this depreciation valid? For low-cost commodity products, transactional selling may be effective but for high-ticket items or products which are very competitive then relationship selling may be the edge that you need.
What is relationship selling?
This is a sales technique that concentrates on the connection between the buyer and seller rather than the price or features of a product. It looks at building trust between the two parties so that eventually a sale may occur. Relationship selling is focused on your customer and how you can benefit them through your actions.
How does relationship selling work?
1. Add value: The first step in relationship building is to add value to your client. You could send them a link to content that will help with a topic they may be struggling with, you can introduce them to someone who would be beneficial to their business, or anything else which will add value to their life.
2. Learn about their situation: It’s important to give your client the lion’s share of conversation time so that you can truly understand what their problem may be. This will also help you to evaluate if your product or service is the correct fit for their situation. You should also not force a sales pitch down their throat. Remember relationship building is about the long game.
3. Give personalised advice: Now that you have a clear idea of the problem the client wants to be resolved, you can tailor your advice to suit their situation. You can also highlight how another client who has had a similar problem benefited from your product or service.
4. Deal with objections: In any transaction, especially high-ticket transactions, there will be a few objections. First, you need to paraphrase the objection to show your client you have understood and empathise with them. Then you can tackle the objection objectively. It’s important to stick to facts and don’t fight with your client. Remember you both want a positive result to come from the transaction.
5. Continue to add value: Once the deal has been closed, it is important to continue to add value to your customer. This can be done with follow-up calls, sending out holiday celebration emails or maybe even tickets to a special event you are hosting. It is important to remain top of mind for your client.
What are the features of building a good relationship with your client?
1. Find common ground: What do you and your client have in common? This could be a shared personality trait to a hobby. You could have similar family backgrounds. You can listen to the background noise when you are on a call with your prospect and listen for pets or children or maybe music that will help you to build a common connection with your prospect.
2. Be honest: There is an adage that says “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything” and this is very true when it comes to sales. If you are truthful about your services and products, you won’t have to remember what you said to your customers. Another interesting fact is that your brain works harder when you are lying then when you are telling the truth. Your customer will also appreciate the fact that you were honest about your product and service and may sing your praises through word-of-mouth to their friends and family who may be interested in the product or service you sell.
3. Be reliable: It is important that if you schedule an appointment you arrive on time and if you promise to send a document or email that you do it as soon as possible after your meeting.
4. Be authentic: You should always be your true polite self when operating in a public environment. By showing your customer that you are also human, they may be more forgiving when you make a mistake.
5. Be an active listener: By listening carefully to what your customer has to say you will be able to solve their problem more effectively. When actively listening, you should consider follow-up questions to help you better understand what are the motivators behind your customer.
6. Be patient: Remember you are in it for the long-term relationship, therefore you need to be patient as you build trust with your client. Try to never rush your customer to a decision.
7. Be prepared: Make sure you have done thorough research on who your client is and also try to learn about their industry so that you can relate to them easier.
Building a relationship takes time but the dividends you will reap when you properly invest your time in relationships will be more than you imagined and you will have planted seeds that will always bring a harvest in the end.
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