Practical Sales Tools and Techniques, to Support your Sales Efforts
Building relationships and long term mutually partnerships with your clients, is the best way to, get your prospects and clients to know, like and trust you. It also changes the relationship dynamic, when you deal with them, on this level. They are no longer in the power position, with you merely taking instruction from them. You become an asset to their business, an additional tool, which will serve them and their business. When you work from this modality, they know that you have their best interests at heart and will only offer them the best value for their business. This all sounds great, but how do you start to build this relationship, how do you begin the journey to build a mutually beneficial relationship with them?
As you know when you meet with a prospective client for the first time, the tension levels are fairly high. This is most certainly not the time to sit with your feet braced firmly against the desk, regurgitating the benefits or features of your product or service. This is the stage for small talk and an opportunity for you to start to build rapport with them and to begin the process of developing a good business relationship, which shows your commitment to support them.
Past Present and Future
We all love to speak about is ourselves. When I approach any new decision maker, I encourage them to speak about themselves, by using the past, present and future as a focal point for the conversation. As I walk into the decision maker’s office, I look around and immediately look the decision maker in the eye, saying “Wow it is amazing to see that you have this amazing position with such an incredible company. How did you get started?” This immediately breaks the ice, as nobody has asked them that question for years. The decision maker is obviously very proud of what they have achieved and how well they have done in the company. I have heard many different versions, but they usually go something like this “eighteen years ago I started out as a filing clerk and I worked my way up…..
The secret to start building any relationship is to listen twice as much as you speak. Simply sit back and listen intently, showing real enthusiasm and authentic interest. People will very quickly see through you if you are merely feigning interest and pretending to care. I have learned an incredible amount of really valuable lessons, by listening to people’s success stories, so there is real value to be had by listening and learning from people. You can glean a massive amount of valuable information from the decision maker during their chat about their success journey.
The next question I ask is about the present situation. I would ask a question like “Could you tell me about the current situation and how you have managed to achieve so much success? At this point, the decision maker will disclose even more valuable information, by telling you something like “I have 25 people reporting to me, we have plans to expand our production facility and have plans to open three new branches…… Again sit back, listen and make mental notes. The decision maker is not only having a chance to speak about their own favourite subject, but they are supplying you with valuable information, which you can use to find innovative ways to show the decision maker how your product or service can serve them and their business. I cannot stress enough, how important it is to ensure that you show real interest in what the decision maker has to say.
The next way to lead the conversation is towards the future. This is probably the most important part of the conversation. Ask a question like “Where do you see yourself and your company, five or ten years from now?” This is your opportunity to sit back, show real interest in what they have to say and at the same time be on the lookout for buying signals. They may say things like we are looking to modernise our production facilities, grow our sales, reduce costs or improve product quality. Listen intently and just make mental notes of all the possible opportunities for your products or services to help support the decision maker, achieve these outcomes.
Research, innovate and be Creative
This information will serve you going forward and help you to build and cement the mutually beneficial relationship, which you are attempting to build with them. After the meeting, record your thoughts and any valuable information, which may help you later, to develop the relationship. I have an electronic sales recording system, where I carefully record this information immediately after the meeting. I then use this information to research the client and explore actual company results or outstanding achievements, related to their tenure at the company. I record this in my electronic sales recording system, for use at the next meeting with the decision maker.
Remember the emotions expressed by the decision maker, while they were talking about the past, present and future. Those emotions will help guide you towards an innovative way of showing the decision maker how your product or service will serve them and their business. As you know logic makes people think, but it is emotion which makes people act. Always focus on the decision makers emotions when developing your sales strategy.
After the meeting explore all opportunities you have identified in the meeting where your product or service can support them, by either eliminating some pain or helping them to better achieve any desired outcome. This process requires you to be a little creative and to innovate. It is crucial to stop thinking like a traditional sales person. Look for innovative ways of supporting them and helping them in the long term. Focus on building a mutually beneficial long term relationship. Forget about trying to make a quick short term sale and focus on how you can utilise your product or service to help them in a meaningful way. I hate this old cliché, but “think out of the box”.
Always look for ways to serve your clients and to add real value to them and their business. The decision maker is going to use their emotions to buy and will only buy from someone they know like and trust and who will add real value to them and their business. Keep this as the focal point, during all interactions with your clients.