It is a time-honored truism that people buy from people. That is, people buy from people they know and trust. Clearly, no one buys from a robot, even if in today’s digitally driven world, many of our connections may seem a bit robotic. The heart of effective selling is found in good sales relationships.

What is Relationship Selling and Why Does it Matter?

Good sales relationships developed between a salesperson and his/her customers equals successful relationship selling. It is the connection that a salesperson builds with potential and current customers. Relationship selling is typically used to sell high-ticket items that often require a long sales cycle. It is also valuable in every selling situation, even in retail selling that is mostly transactional, focused on low-ticket items with a short sales cycle. Effective sales relationships go far beyond product features, benefits, and prices. They focus on the buyers, learning about them, their needs, and how the company’s products or services can benefit them.

This approach matters greatly because, without good sales relationships, a customer may feel like a number; someone’s quota to fill. They may not see the salesperson as worthy of trust. It can prevent upselling and repeat selling. The sales process may be reduced to convenience and price, can hurt word of mouth marketing, and can make the customer more likely to move to a competitor for a subsequent transaction.

Sales Relationships Tips

People that are real (genuine) help people buy from real people. Use these tips to make sales relationships real and effective:

  1. Good selling is listening selling. Listen carefully to what customers are looking for. Don’t simply try to push your products or services on them.
  2. Know, really know your company, its products, or services. Be a subject matter expert.
  3. Seek knowledge and feedback from them. Are there adjustments that can be made to better fit their desires and requirements?
  4. Find ways to understand their interests. Are there things that the salesperson and the customer have in common that may help develop a connection?
  5. Have conversations rather than simply sales pitches.
  6. Be prepared to add value to the selling transaction.
  7. Respond promptly to their questions and requests. Make them feel that they are your priority; that you are paying attention.
  8. Always be genuine. No one likes faked interest.
  9. Be totally honest in every contact and in every transaction.
  10. Be absolutely reliable. Do what you say you will do. Empty promises don’t cut it.
  11. Be patient. Good relationships take time to build and they require energy and continued effort to nurture and grow.
  12. Make their contacts and work with you as easy and convenient as possible.
  13. Keep working on the relationship after a sale. Current customers are more likely to be continued customers if they are satisfied with you and your company.

Avoid Sales Relationships Mistakes

Avoid these sales relationships mistakes that can make selling ineffective and frustrating:

  • Being afraid of the word “no.” Get any objections on the table early and deal with them directly.
  • Not following up frequently and in a timely manner.
  • Pleading that you really need this deal.
  • Being hard to reach, even when you are busy.
  • Talking way too much (instead of listening.)

To Achieve Sales Success, Seek Outside Expertise

As a fractional VP of Sales, James Bellew works with small to medium-sized business owners to build or rebuild their sales organizations. That includes sales strategy, processes, building, establishing, and aligning sales teams and their sales tools.