Is “Relationship Selling” just another bit of jargon trending through the sales world, or is there actually something worth exploring here?
If you’re not sure, then you’re in the right place! Today we’re talking about whether relationship selling skills are a trendy feel-good phrase or a valid tactical sales tool you should be utilizing.
Is There Room for Relationships in Sales? You Decide, We’ll Help.
There seem to be conflicting thoughts on relationship-selling in the sales community as some feel it solidifies and strengthens their close rates and retention while others feel it’s an unnecessary distraction that clutters and detracts from the sales and service success.
Whether you’re a hyper-focused-doer or a heartfelt-connector, both sides agree on one thing: Relationship Selling is a prolific term that gets mixed reactions and means different things to different people!
You see it often in articles, advice guides, and training material, and it feels and sounds nice –but how can you REALLY be a powerful salesperson with it?
How can you make sure you’re getting the best of BOTH worlds with valuable client relationships that increase your close rates and decrease your churn?
Here are a few points to consider when exploring this model in your sales process.
Be Clear on the TYPE of Relationship You’re Aiming For.
Just as a refresher, relationship selling is based on shifting the focus of your sales conversations from prioritizing product benefits, features, and so on, to prioritizing a genuine connection that leads to relationships that ENHANCE what your products and services accomplish. This allows you to provide an exceptional experience in addition to your services that may be the deal winning move over a competitor.
For example, if you’re in a business that relies on recurrent purchases and client retention and can build relationships with your clients that make what you offer even more valuable, your retention rate increases. This is because their EXPERIENCE with you adds an edge they can’t get with other providers who may have similar offerings.
Your goal in relationship selling can’t be on making friends and being liked above all else. It needs to focus on what VALUE you bring to the business relationship you’re establishing.
Your prospect most likely isn’t looking for a buddy, so if your focus during your sales calls is on learning about their kids, pets, and hobbies, you may indeed have a fun conversation, but what benefit did it give to your prospect? Were you able to identify their core needs and whether your offerings will be a good fit for them? Could you communicate it compellingly?
On the flip side, some clients or prospects feel they can’t do business with someone they can’t connect with, and if you’re hyper-focused on the bottom line and are too aloof and impersonal, they may take their business elsewhere.
In these cases, you need to reassess the TYPE of relationships you’re cultivating with clients and prospects. Are they a friend or a means to an end? How can you improve?
Be Clear on Your Communication and Connection Strengths.
Understanding your communication and sales style is vital for knowing where your strengths and areas needing improvement lay. Part of being a fantastic and valuable sales asset is always staying active in your professional and personal development as it applies to your roles.
Sometimes these introspective looks at our communication and relationship skills are a little confronting as things we see as strengths may actually be negating our success. Or the problems we have at home may be reflected at work as well.
For example: Maybe you always have the right words to say and never have awkward silences during a prospect/client conversation. That’s a strength, right? But you later hear that a client didn’t close because they thought you were rude, pushy, and talked over them the whole time. And worse… your girlfriend or boyfriend said something eerily similar the other night when you both were fighting. YIKES!!!
On the flip side, maybe you’re a fantastic listener and do great presentations when you have time to prepare, but do terribly and can’t find the right way to share your thoughts and suggestions on the spot. Here’s your sign that you need to reassess and learn some active, resting, and reflective listening and speaking skills!
Don’t Just Put It On A List Of Things To Do… DO IT!
KNOWING what needs to be done to become a better and more valuable sales asset to your company is only as effective as what you DO with this knowledge. After all, knowledge without action is nothing more than mental dust bunnies dulling up your mind– it certainly isn’t wisdom! That only comes with application and experimentation.
Though ANY start is better than no start, and you may already have ideas on where to begin improving, I’ve got a fantastic tool to toss in the hat! It’s my FREE Communication Style Assessment designed specifically with sales professionals in mind.
This assessment helps you discover your natural communication and connection style to easily identify the places your profile type often excels and needs help with. This will help ensure you define and apply your relationship sales skills with tactical clarity AND connection creating ease. You’ll also find out how you can get easy to implement exercises to begin cultivating higher close and retention rates fast.
If you love learning new things and deep-diving into information, you might also enjoy my NEW book written to take these assessment profiles to their top-performing potential. You can grab that on Amazon right (here)!
Thanks so much for reading and sharing your time with me today! I hope you’ve had some good food for thought and growth in how relationship selling can be a powerful tool OR trendy barrier depending on how you use it.