Your ability to foster relationships based on trust is worth its weight in gold. Trust is the soul of sales. Add into the mix a sound sales message and you have the recipe for a great sales career. Clear messaging makes you easily referable because people understand what you can do and can explain it to others with ease. And we all know that word of mouth is one of the best ways to generate new leads without having to go out there and generate them for yourself.
Should You Align With Prospects Who Are Similar To You?
It’s far easier to work with people who you align with. It will certainly get you off to a good start in a new sales role as the prospects / customers you share the most similarities with are likely to buy from you. However, if you want to be successful in the longer term it’s important to have a mix of prospects / customers i.e. some who will challenge you and others who won’t. In this way you will foster a learning mindset and develop your personal skills.
What do you want your prospects / customers to remember you for? You are what you do. Having the right attitude and a smile can go a long way.
Always try to understand the point of view of your prospect / customer. If they are showing resistance ask ‘why’ questions to really dig deep and uncover the true root of their resistance.
Be careful not to over-promise. Each time you deliver you add another solid block in the foundation of your relationship with your customer. And you solidify it even more when you deliver better than promised.
The Power of The Internet
The internet has put the world at our fingertips. If you know how to use it properly it can be a powerful tool. The four key steps to building great relationships take are: plan, prioritize, research and connect.
After your initial planning and prioritization you can begin to research. Use LinkedIn for uncovering hot topics in particular industries. Set up Google alerts based on customer names and keywords related to your prospects as well. Taking a look around social media will also help you build up a strong profile of your prospects and their industry. Even typing in key words into a search engine will throw up a wealth of information.
Once your research is complete you will be in a position to make connections with prospects. For example, if you see a Tweet by a prospect, reply to them and tell them that you like what they said. Point out the synergy between the two of you and ask for an appointment.
Can You Start Relationships Via Email?
Phone is still better than email because it’s immediate and offers no chance for people to hide behind an inbox. However, if you can make your email intriguing and concise then you have a good chance of building some great rapport and getting in front of your prospect.
Start your email with a salutation that uses the prospect’s name rather than something generic. The first paragraph should use the words ‘you’ or ‘your’. For example ‘your work is impressive, I think we have a synergy in X / Y / Z’. Then ask for an appointment and finish with a polite sign off. No further detail is needed.
This type of email should impress your prospect as you have demonstrated to them that you have researched them enough to identify areas of connection and they are likely to want to know a little more about you.
Relationships require work. When they get stale your prospect / customer might start tolook elsewhere.
Author, speaker, influencer and sales guru Elinor Stutz is a big fan of getting creative with your sales relationships. When she was selling high-end printers she came up with an idea to attract prospects: humour. She sent each of her prospects a personalized greetings card. It was a photo of a lorry stuck in a tree with the caption ‘set your goals higher’. She sent these cards to her prospects three times. The reason being that she knew some of the cards would never end up in the hands of the intended recipient. Once she had sent out the card three times she picked up the phone and asked for an appointment. It’s no surprise that her prospects said, ‘yes’ – they wanted to meet the person behind the creative cards.