The changing nature of sales is an ongoing and hot topic of discussion… The pace of business continues to accelerate at a dizzying speed. Customers are more educated and sophisticated than ever. The bar is continually rising. It is getting harder and harder to impress customers and prospects, to rise above the crowd, get noticed… BECOME THE ONLY CHOICE.
It’s important not to confuse a change in method with a fundamental shift in the sales dynamic. For example, we may utilize technology more in our customer communications – be it email, Skype or FaceTime – but these are simply vehicles for communication, and have more to do with the logistics of our sales process than the effectiveness of it.
In contrast, the customer relationship is the very foundation of the sales dynamic. Whether you are communicating in person, by phone, email or smoke signals, you are communicating as a means of advancing your relationship with the customer. Your relationship with the customer is the platform upon which you build every future conversation, interaction and purchase decision. It’s the relationship that stabilizes us during difficult times, and allows us to consult, advise and at times even challenge our customers. In fact, the health and nature of our relationship determines our degree of influence with customers.
So how do we build great customer relationships? Relationship building can be as simple as a quick email asking how your customer’s vacation went, or as profound as providing a new insight/strategy with benefits your customer didn’t even know were possible. We just need to a) remember there is a proven process for building effective relationships, and b) engage that process consistently. In the coming weeks, I’ll continue talking about key elements of effective relationship building, including:
- Interdependent relationships
- Objective perception
- Listening to understand
- Effective bonding process