Written by Sean McPheat |
Whenever we discuss salespeople’s skill-sets and the development of such, we always get round to the power of building relationships and the long-term benefits of maintaining and sustaining the connections with clients.
The value of doing so has been covered many times, and it is always advantageous to revisit the reasons why these long-term networks can improve profitability and productivity alike.
While we know it’s important to keep these relationships going, how do we start them in the first place? What can we do to preserve the relationship and build trust so that the sales just keep on coming?
Here are three of the best tips for this:
Very often, we concentrate on how we can sell more to customers through improved quality of products or offering discounts for multiple sales and the like. However, it might be that the customer needs more specific areas of support in maintaining their business interests with their customers.
Here, you would be better off looking at how you can support their efforts and long-term goals by identifying the level of service they require from you to accommodate the increase in performance they are requiring. So ask questions like, “What can I do for you that will improve your productivity with your customers? How can we support your marketing or sales efforts so that it is easier for you to break into new markets?”
The more assistance you give to clients that helps them achieve their goals, the more likely it will be that their improved results will be down to you. Hence, they’ll associate you with their success in the future.
If you are only talking to the buyer or the person responsible for making final decisions, you run the risk of being held ransom whenever there’s a need for changes. That one person may hold all the purse-strings or they may be the only decision-maker that has the power to use your services.
It’s much better to get to know others within the business, networking with them to see what other people’s goals are in working with a supplier. You are then able to spread your influence throughout the company, rather than putting all your proverbial eggs in the one basket.
Determine who would be the best contact in accounts. Identify who in production would be an ally of yours. Seek out the best person in the marketing department who will be your friend when it comes to building relationships at a sales level.
The more you spread the word around the company about your usefulness, the less likely it is for one person to make or break your relationships.
It may be beneficial for a customer to buy from you when you discount your products once. But if you want to maintain business, you need to prove how your products and services are actually affecting their results.
If you sell photocopiers, you need to prove how much extra savings your thousands of copies are actually making them over competitors’ solutions.
If you are selling consulting services, you need to prove the value of your services and build your reputation on what future opportunities might occur when using you.
Building reasons why the customer or their business is better off using you gives compelling reasons for them to use you again and again. Repetition is the key to gaining further business, so create chances to prove how your services are improving results, in whatever ways are important for the customer.
By identifying what you can do to activate the ‘repeat-business’ switch in your buyer’s mind, you are building reasons for them to stay with you and increase opportunities to maintain the account for the long-term.
Originally published: 2 April, 2015