How To Build Relationships With Customers And Clients

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Trust Word Written On Wooden BlockMost buyers we speak to don’t have much time for salespeople.

The reason is they still think of them as being slick-talking, time-draining, pressure-inducing parasites who are trying to rip buyers off and get as much profit as possible.

We all know this is a hackneyed, superficial oversimplification, based on ages-old templates that were forged from the old snake-oil salespeople of the wild-west.

But we are also aware that there are still some salespeople out there whose grannies will have to be careful before they are unscrupulously sold off!

How can we regain control of this impression that many buyers have of us as unprofessional leeches? Well, it’s really quite straightforward.

We have to turn ourselves around from being someone who sells stuff to someone who is more interested in the overall experience we expose our customers to.

I recently saw a video on LinkedIn about a traveller who was flying home to his family on Christmas Eve. He told the story of how he was treated by a member of the cabin crew, and it was stunning in its simplicity but profound in its results.

The video told how the cabin crew member simply made the whole experience this passenger had something to remember…in a great way!

She engaged him in conversation, she asked about his family, gave him his refreshments and ensured he had everything that made him comfortable.

The passenger was not only impressed, but intrigued. Why was this cabin crew member so attentive? Yes, it was her job, but she seemed to go above and beyond expectations.

At a quiet time in the flight, he approached her and asked why she was so attentive to everyone’s needs. She said that she realised everyone was probably going home, had a story to tell and she wanted to hear it, because she was interested in making everyone’s experience a memorable one.

The story impressed me because we are often given short-shrift in our dealings with customer service people because they are ‘just doing a job’. This crew member decided, yes chose, to go beyond that, because she realised that a little attention can change everyone’s perception of the stresses of life.

We need to remember that most of our customers don’t want to be simply sold to. They want you to make it easy for them to buy.

The best way to do this is to work on our relationship-building skills. How can we do this? Here are some tips:

Learn to listen more than you talk.

This can be difficult at times when we are trying to sell our products to an inquiring customer, but it can only enhance our abilities when we are seen by people as being a good listener

Give people your time.

This means they get to hear more from you, either online, on the phone or face to face. And when you are with them, really be with them. Don’t keep checking your phone all the time, or thinking about your next call. Pay attention and be interested.

Develop empathy skills.

This means identifying the way someone is feeling and understanding their stresses and challenges, so you can gain clarity on what they are going through.

Think more about their business rather than selling your products.

A prospect can tell when they are being sold to. Be the kind of person who will have a listening ear from a prospect when it’s your turn to speak, because you have been rich enough to give them your time when they were speaking.

These ideas will increase the chances of building a deeper relationship with a customer and help you resist the temptation simply to turn up and try to sell your products to them.

Remember the attitude of the cabin-crew member earlier? She took the initiative and chose to be interested. By following that example, you will soon be excellent at developing your relationship-building skills. And that should help you sell more in the long-term.

Want to learn more? Then why not book an Advanced Sales Training Course with MTD.

Happy selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

Sales DNA

Originally published: 28 May, 2019

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