Building a Relationship With Customers

Whether or not you consider yourself a “salesperson,” all businesses need to sell to make money! 

You may be selling a physical product or it could be a less tangible service. No matter what you sell, customers are at the heart of every successful business.

There are many different sales tactics, including highlighting risks of not purchasing something, creating a story, introducing or stating unconsidered needs, challenging the status quo, making the customer a hero, and more. 

But all sales tactics start from the same place: How do I get people to purchase my product or service?

Relationship Sales

You can choose to sell your product or service in any way that works best for your business. However, the way you approach the sale is what I consider to be the most important aspect of sales.

Relationship sales is all about building a connection with people and the relationship  between the salesperson and the potential buyers. 

Relationship selling is about building a real connection with another human being. This sets you and your company up to not only get a sale, but retain that customer long-term and build brand loyalty.

Traditional “old school” aggressive sales tactics (think the stereotypical used car salesman or door-to-door sales or telling someone they NEED a miracle product to change their lives), also called “transactional selling,” are focused on the short-term sale. Relationship sales set you up for long-term success.

It is easier and less expensive to KEEP a customer than it is to acquire new ones. And when thinking about brand loyalty and relationships, people want to buy from people they trust – and people they like.

4 Tips For Building A Connection With Customers

Listen A Lot More

The number one technique when it comes to relationship sales is listening. This might seem obvious, but you may be surprised how many people are so focused on selling and moving on that they steamroll the conversation and just push the customer to purchase – even if it doesn’t solve their problem!

Listening more than talking is a SKILL. That’s great news, because it means that if you find yourself talking more than listening, you can change that habit and work on improving your listening skills! 

Every sales training teaches you to ask questions and discover a person’s objections so that you can overcome each one, but by listening more and really understanding where they come from, you can often spot objections before the customer even fully sees it themselves and address them proactively.

Getting customer feedback is another aspect of listening. Since you’re building a connection with people, they are more likely to be honest with you about issues they are having with your company over time – and more likely to bring them up to you instead of just going to a competitor. Take in the feedback and actively work to improve your product or service and you will have those customers for life.

Add Value to Customers

Your product or service absolutely adds value to your customer’s lives. It solves a problem, minimizes their financial risks, makes them happy, and/or probably many other positive things. 

YOU know this. But do they?

By really listening to your customer’s wants, needs, and challenges, you can hone in on how your product or service will help them specifically. Instead of generalized statements like “It will save you money in the long run!” You can reply to their individual situations, such as “I know you live in X neighborhood, and we are open until 8 pm, so by using my pet grooming service, you can pick up Reginald Floofster on the way home from work without leaving early or going out of your way.”

Be Honest and Transparent

Just like when you’re making a new friend or dating someone, honesty and transparency is imperative when you are building a new customer relationship. 

If your product or service isn’t the right fit for someone right now, stop pushing. Maintain the connection and when they are ready, they’ll come to you. If you keep pushing and they feel backed into a corner, you’re going to lose not just a sale now but a long-term customer.

If you don’t know the answer to a question a prospective customer asks, don’t just make something up. Customers really appreciate it when someone says, “You know, I’m not sure. I’ll find out and get right back to you.” You are not the keeper of all knowledge, no one is! It’s okay to not know the answer, being an expert is about knowing where to find the answer.

Be Reliable and Authentic

Being reliable and authentic go hand in hand with honesty and transparency. If you say you’re going to reach out to someone on a specific day, do it. If you tell them their package will be delivered by a certain date, do everything you can to make sure it does. 

Sure, mistakes and accidents happen – but when they do, take full accountability and solve the problem to the best of your ability.

Be YOU! Be authentic and yourself. Build a real, true connection with people. Businesses are built on customers, so do your best to create a real connection and build a relationship over time with yours!

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