The Best Salespeople Don’t Sell. They Build Relationships.

Having sold everything from phone cards to enterprise software, I have always had my way of selling things. It was the high of closing the sales that drew me to this career choice – that PO in hand always gave me a special feeling.

In my career spanning more than 13 years, I have had interactions with a lot of sales persons – from sales interns to heads of sales. One thing I always noticed among the best was their passion for connecting with people and building relationships. They don’t force sell anything. It’s all about having a strong relationship in place. When you have nurtured and built a great relationship with your clients, they will approach you if they have any problems in your area of expertise.

I have had instances when I tried to negotiate from my client’s perspective with the principals. A few times, I was even questioned for standing up for my clients. However, all said and done, these clients that I nurtured have turned out to be some of the best accounts for me.

In business, it’s about people. It’s about relationships – Kathy Ireland

Here are a few tips to create a good relationship with your clients.

Always know when to stop pursuing a client and never force sell anything

Understand that when a client says “No”, it is a “No”. Don’t take it personally. There might be several reasons that you might not be aware of why the client said No. Don’t try to continue following up with them expecting the “No” to become a “Yes”.

I have seen a few of my customers buy services (usually of very low value) from some nagging salesmen just for the heck of getting them away. However, it’s usually the last PO that they would ever raise to that vendor.

Don’t give a sales pitch. Start a conversation

Do not start a sales pitch or presentation about your company and services within the first few minutes of meeting your client. You might be asked for it or you should learn to identify when you have to do this.

It’s always better to strike a conversation and ask about new initiatives they have started or current challenges they are facing. You could also talk about events that could be of interest to your client. Ask open ended questions to build a good conversation.

Think from the client’s perspective

Imagine stepping into your client’s shoe for an hour. Would you buy the services you are offering? Would you pay a premium for your services? Is it really relevant for your client? Once you have answers to these questions, you would have a better understanding of the scenario and you could position yourself (and your company) better.

Sometimes, your competitor’s product might be more suited for the client. Gracefully accept this and recommend it to your client. Don’t worry about losing this deal. It’s the trust that you are building that’s important.

Share information & knowledge

My clients usually appreciated when I sent them articles on the latest trends in technology. As a salesman, its your responsibility to be updated on the latest in your field. However, it would be even better if you would also share the same with your clients & colleagues. Knowledge is meant to be shared!

I have personally experienced an increase in my sales-effectiveness after I started using these techniques. If you find this article interesting, try adopting the techniques here and share your experience.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn here

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