Written by Sean McPheat |
10 May, 2016
If there’s one quality that we can always develop on our journey to being great at salesmanship, it’s the quality of connection.
Ask any buyer what cements the relationship between them and their best suppliers, somewhere down the line this concept of connection will rise up.
No buyer I know will say that they continue buying from a company without some form of bond or relationship with them.
This ‘connect’ is often done at the personal level (people buy from people) or at the business level (they provide great products for us).
So how do we build, develop and maintain this relationship?
What are the key components that make connections successful?
Well, we can see a number of ideas by taking the word ‘connect’ and using that as an acronym so we can remember it better.
Here’s my take on the seven aspects of ‘connect’.
All connections have to be at the conscious level.
In other words, we need to be aware of what our client needs, what their motives are, what changes they are going through, what challenges they are facing and allow ourselves to be immersed in assisting them to deal with them.
Too often, we drift through our client relationships, only contacting them when we need them to buy from us, or when we have an offer for them.
By consciously being aware of what’s happening in their business, we make ourselves valuable to them and they see us as a great asset to them.
How many times have you forgotten to check in with a client when you should have, or simply mislaid a contact’s details?
Great salespeople realise the importance of being organised to achieve their and their connection’s goals.
By identifying what’s most important in the relationship, you make sure you are organised to help them and won’t arrive at meetings berating yourself for forgetting that vital file or your laptop pore cable!
The buyer isn’t interested in you and your products.
They couldn’t care very much about your company either.
If you went away, there’s someone else ready to leap into your place.
No, they only feel connected to you when you care about their needs.
What challenges are top-of-mind for them at the moment?
What dangers lurk in the murky waters of future changes?
By dealing with their current and future needs and wants, you become more valuable than ever to them and they like that attitude of caring.
This is a skill that builds the connection between salespeople and buyers.
The buyers needs to feel they have got a good ‘deal’ (whatever that means in their mind) and also has to recognise you have to make a profit in order to keep servicing them.
So, developing great negotiating skills can help you connect well with the businesses you deal with.
We often forget when immersed in the cut and thrust of business dealings that we are dealing with human nature.
People make decisions based on what makes them feel confident and good.
The emotional connection is important to remember.
Simply by being the cheapest or the most effective won’t always cut it.
We need to remember the emotional impact we can have by making the buyer feel confident they have made the right decision in choosing you.
It’s easy to fall into that malaise that often affects relationships; the attitude of taking the partner for granted.
It’s often the first thing that insidiously infects any relationship and can creep up on you without realising it (hence the need to be consciously aware of what’s happening).
By creating new ways to build value in the customer’s mind, you bulked reasons for them to know you are interested in them and so maintain that connection.
This final one is obvious but is often overlooked.
The connection between your company and your key accounts can only be maintained through activity.
Leaving the contact between you to chance or ignoring the proactive nature of account management can cause you to lose contact and only be seen as a salesperson instead of a consultant whose really interested in their business.
Keep action at the top of your list of priorities.
So that’s my take on how to start, build, develop and maintain connection with your clients.
To summarise, you need to consciously be aware of the needs of their business, taking action to recognise the emotional impact of your relationship, creating chances to show your value and negotiate at a deep level so they see your value.
That way, you are organised to show your client how you can help them build their businesses in the future.