More On Relationships

posted: Friday, June 21, 2013

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Today, we are going to spend some time reviewing some of the things in sales that are often forgotten in the day-to-day pursuit to sell. One of the most important things to remember is that relationships are more important than product knowledge. Don’t get me wrong, knowing what you are selling is important and keeping up on that is vital to a salesperson’s success.

However, it is the relationship with your customers that will lead to more sales than anything else. That’s why non-business conversations are so important and cannot be hurried. It’s easy to fall into a rut where we are trying to make as many sales as possible by moving from one customer to another and that might work sometimes, but in the long run, it is a system that is going to fail.

Sure it takes longer to talk with customers and establish a relationship but ask yourself this: do you want to sell to that customer once, or do you want to sell to them over and over again?

Here’s a simple example, a customer is looking to by a diamond bracelet for his wife and there a two salespeople with two different approaches. The first salesperson quickly listens to what the customer wants and hurries through the inventory that fits what he might want. The salesperson answers a couple of questions but is trying to close the sale quickly so he can move onto the gentlemen that just walked into the store. Let’s say the first man does buy for our example, but we’ll come back to this in a minute.

The second salesperson wants to get to know the customer and ask questions like: what is the special occasion, where did you meet you wife, what does your wife dream of having next, what other special events do you have coming up? After five or ten minutes of conversation, the two look at the inventory and together they find the perfect bracelet. As the customer leaves, the two share a quick conversation about the big game coming up and shake hands.

Both salespeople got the sale, but who do you think the customer would go back to when he’s ready to buy a necklace for his daughter’s graduation? The conversation to get to know the customer took longer but it still led to a sale, and established a relationship that will lead to more. Knowing your product is important, but there’s no substitute for knowing your customers.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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