You wouldn’t use a CRM to court a potential romantic partner. So why do you rely on so much to build a sales relationship?
Creating a sale means creating a real relationship – your prospect comes to know and like you and to trust your judgment enough to believe that your product or service will solve his or her problem. Once that trusting relationship has been built, the more likely your prospect will be ready to buy.
Real Relationships Take Effort
But true relationships, whether they’re romantic, platonic or business-related all have one thing in common: they take attention, persistence, patience and time. Relationships require thoughtful investment.
No Relationship, No Sale
While most business relationships only exist in the business setting, having a friendly and caring relationship with a prospect or client helps all interactions go better. While I wouldn’t call a friendly business relationship a true friendship, it definitely can be warm and responsive and add considerable pleasure to each individual’s work day.
The business relationship needn’t be a close one, but it needs to have a degree of affability that places it somewhere below true friendship but above mere acquaintanceship. Each person in the relationship needs to know things about the other such as spouse’s name, one or two hobbies enjoyed, favorite sports teams, and so on.
It’s Up to You to Get This Relationship Party Started
As the sales person approaching a prospect, it’s natural that you first are more interested in the other person than vice versa. After all, most relationships of any type start with one person reaching out a bit more than another (a man asking a woman on a date, a middle-schooler asking a classmate over to play video games, a co-worker asking another to join him at the cafeteria table, etc.).
Build the relationship by being friendly, approachable, patient….and you do your homework! Learn as much as you can about the prospect before first making contact. This allows you to not only discover the prospect’s career trajectory, industry, company, and potential challenges, it also shows you what things the two of you have in common. Relationships of any real type tend to flourish when both individuals have something in common. This commonality helps build the relationship.
Once you know these things, you can start your sales courtship and, forge a true business friendship. Or, at the least, become the enterprise salesperson your prospect turns to for advice, and the services and products you sell, when he needs them.
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