The building of relationships in business is the biggest common denominator when ascertaining how we can increase our sales with current and new clients.
Relationships are the key to building trust and developing sales with clients, as your consistency and caring for the client’s business creates a clear, forward-looking strategic alliance between your business and their organization.
You could have the best products in your industry, but if the client doesn’t feel they have a close relationship that they can rely on, you’ll just be seen as another supplier of products and services.
So, what steps can you take to build closer relationships with current and future clients? Here are some ideas you would benefit from trying:
1) Do your research. By finding out what the business values are, you gain a head-start in identifying how you can get closer to the buyer and their business. You should research their current situation, where they may be missing out on business and what their future opportunities might be.
2) Identify your shared values. Having done step one, you can now see how you and they can link up, in terms of the values you share. How will that help? Well, the buyer will see you as partner material as you are both singing from the same song-sheet in terms of what is most important to your futures.
3) Build respect for each other’s’ position. This means sharing ideas as to which direction you are both going and identifying what would be the best approach for you and them in working together.
4) Keep your promises. Whatever you say you are going to do, make sure you follow up on time, every time. There is nothing that breaks trust quicker than you promising to carry out some task and then failing to fulfill it. If they can’t trust you in the small things, how are they going to build a business relationship with you in the bigger things?
5) Find out their personal interests. You don’t want to make it sound like you’re nosy, but having some kind of interest in what your contact does in and out of the working environment can make a real difference when you are attempting to build a business relationship. As you get closer to a buyer, you start to build up reasons why they should think of your solution to their issues.
6) Give more than you receive. As in any relationship, a business relationship will thrive if you decide to show appreciation by giving without expecting something in return. Ideas could include sharing content from blogs and newsletters that you’ve written, identifying services you could give without charging, giving of your time when it’s most needed by the client, approaching the buyer even when you’re not just looking for a sale and offering expert advice without being asked.
Each of these shows to the buyer that a relationship is more important to you than simply transactions.
Business relationships take time to develop. When you spend the time wisely, you create reasons for that relationship to materialize and you offer specific rationale for the buyer to see you as someone who can offer real added value to their business, rather than someone who is simply trying to sell you products or services.
Wade Younger, MBA, CSP, CSM, TEFL