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Relationships are back! In this age of overwhelming information and evolving technology, people are starved for connection. Selling is no different. Consumers are overwhelmed with choices and decisions they have to make, so knowing, trusting and connecting with a sales person is often a deciding factor on where, when and from whom to buy a product or service.

If you want to turn your prospects into clients, then learning how to build relationships is well worth your time. Investing in relationships helps you make a friend, make a sale and gain a customer for life.

So how do you build relationships? First, learn the art of meaningful conversation – how to talk with people and more importantly how to listen. Remember, buying is emotional, people buy based on what they feel more than on what they think. Second, you must be authentic. Honesty and empathy are important traits when it comes to building true relationships. Relationships are built on trust, credibility and value. If you want your customers to buy into your ideas, information and services, then they have to feel that you care. Customers want to know you are listening and that you understand. And they want to trust that you will provide valuable and relevant solutions. Third, you must have their best interest at heart. Relationships are about caring, and if you want to build long-term relationships with your customers then you need to provide solutions and ideas that are of true benefit. You need to be a resource, and build relationships that put your clients best interest ahead of your own.

Fair Childs is a manufacturing sales representative that I have worked with over the years, and she is diligent in her approach to relationship selling. She has been in this industry for more than 20 years, and most of her original clients are still with her today. Despite the increase in competition and despite the fact that her pricing is not always rock bottom. Why? her relationships with her clients. The organizational assessments I have done with her company have taught me that clients adore Fair (and most of her co-workers.) They know they can count on her to deliver (trust), the feel she understands their need for fast service and adherence to deadlines (listen) and they believe no matter the request Fair and her team will make it happen (value). They also genuinely like her and look forward to her sales calls! Why? Because she is fun, upbeat and positive, and she comes with solutions, ideas and resources. Fair takes the time to add value and invest in her customers, so her customers take time to invest in her!

Building relationships is the very foundation on which successful sales is built. If you want to turn your prospects into clients then invest in your ability to establish trust, credibility and value by taking the time to get to really get to know your customers.