If you’re New to Sales and you want to have a satisfying and successful career, you need to learn how to develop relationships with your customers and see more than just the short-term profit and instead go after and capture the lifetime value. What do I even mean by that? Isn’t sales about finding someone interested in your product or service and then selling it to them and moving on to do it over and over? Yes, it is, but in order to establish yourself and create a brand that has longevity, you need to care about people and invest in learning some effective relationship selling techniques.
When I started selling 17 years ago my mindset was focused on my sales process which was a simple GREET-QUALIFY-SELECT A PRODUCT-DEMO-CLOSE and that was basically it. I had enough good common sense and proper manners to follow up more than most all the other salespeople selling around me, but not in the sense that super successful salespeople do follow up. I learned how important follow up was when I got into the car business years later and became a #1 seller, but when I was a selling newbie I was all about making a sale and then moving on to make another one as fast as I could!
I developed repeat customers by nature because I stayed with my first sales job for just under 10 years, so I was a familiar face to my customers and I have always cared about my customers feeling good about their purchase and getting what they want. People like to do business with salespeople they can like and they can trust. I always seemed to be able to gain the trust of my customers but had I had any training or program designed to follow up professionally, I would have sold SO much more in those days than I did.
What have successful salespeople figured out?
If you’re New to Sales you probably have noticed a salesperson on your sales floor or in your dealership that just seems to be selling and making sales all the time and never takes a fresh up or looks for a new customer. These high producing salespeople have figured out how to sell to their customer base over and over, and they have figured out how to get referrals. None of this is possible unless you make an investment in the customer relationship. Over time you will create a level of trust with your customers that will turn some of them into advocates, and these are the best customers to have!
People know when you just care about making a sale and they can sense when you’re just in it for yourself and the commission. This is probably why only 13% of customers believe a salesperson can understand their needs. Too many salespeople are taught a sales process like I was and that’s it, instead of being taught a sales process as well as the importance of and skills for relationship building for greater ROI.
If your mindset is focused on making a sale you will earn a commission, but if your mindset is focused on relationships, you’ll make a true fortune. There’s a difference, which sounds better, a commission or a fortune?!
Go for a Win-Win Deal every time
Dr. Stephen Covey writes about the importance of a Win-Win deal in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and that’s the mindset of a relationship builder. When you care about the people you’re selling to, and you truly want to help solve their problem, fill a need, or be of service you look for a win-win deal where your customer gets what they want, and in turn, you get what you want. This is by far one of the best ways to operate as a sales professional, and it is a fundamental trait of a salesperson who has great relationships with his or her customers.
Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.” Wise words from a wise man, and if you want to have great relationships and in turn great selling success then keep this saying in mind every day. When you understand that your success as a salesperson comes from how many people you can HELP first, the more successful with people and building relationships you will be. Understanding this mindset was a turning point for me in my sales career, and it has allowed me to maintain motivation and passion for selling!
Look to help as many people as you can each and every day with the product or service you sell. Every time you help a customer on your car lot, on in the showroom, remember that even though you may be “JUST” selling furniture, or cars, or whatever you may sell, this customer has a need or problem and you can help them find a solution. Look to help and be of service first, and you will build great relationships with your customers, and you will earn their business for life.
Learn to ask quality questions
Tony Robbins has made an amazing career from asking himself and others around him quality questions. The better quality the question you ask your customer, the better quality the answer will be. As a salesperson one of the things you can do to begin working towards mastery is learning how to ask quality questions.
This will require thoughtfulness, patience, and daily training, but if you are committed to your sales career that shouldn’t be that big of a deal, or surprise to you. Over time as you learn the quality questions to ask your customers, you will find yourself also developing better relationships with your customers because of it.
When you ask good questions that are thoughtful your customers begin believing you care about their needs first. When you take that information and use it to guide your customer through the sales process you become more likable and trusting and remember what I said before, people buy from salespeople they like and trust. Do you agree? Learn to ask great questions.
Learn to be a great listener
After you ask a quality question learn to be a great listener to what your customer says in response. What’s the point in asking quality questions if you fail to capture all the useful information given in the response? Listen to your customers and let them talk by not interrupting. You will have your turn to talk, your customer should be doing most of the talking and you should be actively listening, even writing down notes that may be important to refer to later on.
Just the simple act of listening to another person is something more and more people are having a hard time with. I don’t know if you have noticed but human attention spans are short and it doesn’t seem like there are many people out there genuinely interested in your wants and needs. That is why the selling stars out there stand out because these stars know how to listen and they stand out because of it. When your customer feels like you’re listening to them it helps build that trusting relationship for lifetime business, not just a sale today but anytime they’re in the market.
Take 100% Responsibility for the good, and bad
Are you with me so far? I am trying to give you some relationship selling techniques here to help you build better and stronger relationships with your customers because that’s what is going to win long-term in sales. Another way to win long-term and create those relationships that spawn advocates is by taking 100% responsibility for your commitments to your customers, especially if things go wrong.
When you operate with high ethics you take responsibility for things and never pass the blame when something goes wrong or the ball gets dropped. Even if it isn’t my fault I will take it on the chin before telling my customer it was someone else’s fault a commitment I made to them didn’t happen. You have to take responsibility for things and if you do, customers will respect you for it!
Some of my very best customers were some of my biggest screw-ups that I took responsibility for and made it right. By doing so a customer has an opportunity to see how you operate when things don’t go as planned. People want answers and accountability, they want you to be honest with them and if you are I believe MOST people will be patient with you and give you a chance to make good.
Never make things worse by passing the blame to someone else. Take the bull by the horns and customer service the heck out of the situation to make it right. In the end, you’ll likely have a stronger and more loyal relationship with your customer. You will know when you have hit that trust level in your relationship with your customer when they call you for advice, or they trust you enough to help a friend, co-worker, or someone in their family.
Wrapping it all up
Alright, I have given you some relationship selling techniques and ways to build great relationships with your customers and earn more than just a quick commission, but instead earn their lifetime business and the business of their friends, family, and co-workers. There are so many other little and big things that you can do to build great relationships with customers, help us all out and comment below with any suggestions that may work well for you!
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