There is a lot of talk at the moment that relationship selling is dead. Even the Harvard Business Review has come out to state – “selling is not about relationships”.
To this I say “RUBBISH!” It is particularly not true in B2B sales.
Sure, you will find your clients and prospects may no longer be able to meet and chat as they have in the past, but this is because of the pressure of work and the ‘instant response’ environment we have created for ourselves. Their days are full with meetings. Their phones are full of voicemails. They desks are full of emails. And they are more than likely ‘up to their butt in alligators’. They don’t have time to build relationships, or do they?
The fact is people are now looking for relationships that add value and ‘cut to the chase’, they have no time for idle pleasantries. This will be bad news for the old school order takers, but great news for those in sales who know how to bring value to a relationship.
If you want to build a relationship with a prospect or client, they need to see you as a valuable resource. Ask yourself:
- Will the prospect/client see me and my product or service as relevant?
- Will they see me as someone who can provide value?
- Do they see the problem I can address as urgent?
- How much effort will their ‘solution’ require to implement?
If you can’t answer these questions you will struggle to build a relationship. You need to do your homework. Research the prospect. Learn more about your client’s business and become a true ‘consultant’ in your area of expertise (your products and services). So to build a relationship, you need to:
- Know the prospect or client’s business needs
- Offer solutions to these needs – solve a problem, help them increase sales, reduce costs etc
- Keep it simple – make it easy to make a decision
- Become an invaluable source of relevant information, trends, market information etc.
Relationship selling isn’t dead – it is just different. People still buy from people they like – and more importantly people they trust and who can help them be successful. Your challenge is to earn the trust – the relationship will follow.