The truth about running a business is that you will always have competitors selling similar products and services. These competitors will likely be using the same sales techniques as you to get more customers and increase their customer and market shares while diminishing yours.
For businesses to rise above this, they need to use sales tactics and techniques that other businesses are not using.
Relationship selling is something many businesses do without realizing it. The difference is that many do not hone this technique and so it is often not very effective for them. This article will explore relationship selling, showing you a few ways to take advantage of this technique for increased sales and deal closures.
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What is Relationship Selling?
Relationship selling is a sales technique that involves creating strong emotional connections and bonds with your customers to close deals and make sales. Many businesses use tangible metrics such as product details, features, and price to close deals. They want to show customers and clients that their business offers them the best option for every dollar spent.
However, humans are a lot more complex than this. Numbers are enticing, but people want to feel positive about the businesses they buy from or do business with. Relationship selling focuses on creating the relationship that helps foster loyalty towards the business as well as its products and services.
Where Does Relationship Selling Work?
Relationship selling works everywhere a customer needs to make a connection with a business before making a purchase decision. Commonly, the technique works for high-value items that require some commitment. In these types of transactions and deals, customers and clients have to think about these decisions before going ahead with them.
They need to take the extra time to ensure they are making the right decision or deal and thus they have to put a lot of thought into this decision. They also need to know you are credible and that they can trust you.
Relationship selling helps businesses and salespeople close these deals because they take the time to understand their customers and their needs, allowing them to personalize communications and interactions. This shows the business cares about its needs and that its products and services are the best for the customer.
At its very core, relationship selling is about being as helpful as possible, understanding customers, providing personalized services, appearing trustworthy and credible, and retaining the customer so the business guarantees recurring revenue down the line.
Understanding all this, which relationship selling tactics and techniques can businesses use to increase sales and close deals?
Always Provide Value and Insight
To establish yourself as a credible and trusted advisor, always try to provide some insight and value to your prospects. This might mean reaching out via phone or email to provide helpful information and suggestions, sending them relevant content, introducing them to a valuable partner or offering them some other benefit.
By doing this, you turn the relationship from one where you need to make a sale to one where you are providing help. When the time comes, it will be easier to make the sale or close the deal because, even at that time, you will still be providing help and some benefits.
Create Personal Connections
Creating personal relationships applies to both individual customers and businesses. It is often about finding common ground. Small talk can only get a salesperson so far and they need to learn unrelated details about their customers before they start pitching. For customers who walk into a store, observable conversation pieces are adequate. For other customers, creating buyer personas and doing some research for B2B customers is important.
Start by going on social media and finding everything you can about the customer or business. Try to find some common ground between you and the people you will be talking to. For example, you might have gone to the same university or supported the same team.
Asking people about themselves is also a great way to build rapport and a relationship. Lastly, be attentive to the phone. You might notice details such as kids or pets in the background and that could be a way of connecting with the person.
For B2B customers, all details about their business will likely be online and this will be an incredible resource for you.
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Prove Your Expertise
For people to trust you, you need to demonstrate a strong understanding of your industry, your customers, and your customer’s needs. As a trustworthy and credible resource, you should be able to answer all the questions your customers have including questions about your industry, products, and services.
You should be able to create credible comparisons between you and your competitors so people can understand why they need to choose your business over other businesses. Being able to articulate these points clearly will improve your sales itches and have a positive impact on conversions.
Additionally, you should know about the trends happening in your industry and how your business is adapting to the changes happening now and those that are coming in the future. Conversations about industry happenings, especially with B2B customers, demonstrate your interest in the industry and their business, and they help prove you are knowledgeable about all these subjects.
To gain the knowledge and expertise you require to be an authoritative resource in your industry and for your business, you need to possess the right research skills. Many business leaders complete a degree in business administration which confers them the skills and knowledge they need to research and understand their businesses and industries better.
However, advanced research methods that can be applied in business are gained by completing an advanced degree. Consider enrolling in the DBA online program at Aston University to gain the necessary business and applied research skills you need to demonstrate your expertise and knowledge not only in business but in your industry as a whole.
Many salespeople fall into the trap of rambling on about a product or service instead of listening. However, studies have shown that you are more likely to make a sale if you listen to your customers more, aiming to understand them and what they need. Listening also helps you understand them and their needs better, which becomes incredibly valuable when providing advice and solutions.
Some ways to prove you are listening include repeating what a customer has said, asking open-ended questions, and using positive non-verbal cues (smiling nodding, etc.). The good news is that active listening and positive reinforcement can be learned and there are numerous resources to help with this.
Tailor Your Advice
High-value customers do not appreciate being offered advice they have heard a hundred times. Now that you understand your custom, tailor your advice to a specific situation when providing advice. For example, address a pain point by suggesting a product and services that might help and that align with your business. Always back up your recommendations and advice with facts and data. Examples of customers with the same issue who followed your advice and saw some results usually work very well.
Relationship selling is a very powerful technique if salespeople know how to use it. It can apply to individual customers and business clients alike, helping you close more deals and increase sales if done right.