Despite the increased reliance on electronic communication, relationship selling still matters. At a recent NationaLease meeting, Paul C. Darley, president and CEO of W.S. Darley & Co., discussed what he calls the art of relationship sales. He stressed its top five P’s:
When building relationships, listen — really listen — to what the customer is saying and in doing so, read between the lines to ascertain what they want and need.
Be respectful and professional, always putting the customer’s interests first. Ask high-impact questions, such as:
- What keeps you awake at night?
- How is life, on a scale of 1-10?
- What is most important to you about this deal?
Once you’ve determined what their needs are, be a problem-solver. Under-promise and over-deliver; everyone wants someone who has their back.
People buy for emotional reasons above all else, so find their pain, and help them relieve it. In order to find your customer’s pain point, you will need to build a relationship with them.
Ask what is truly important to them and ask why they really buy your products. Help your customer compile a list of objections and concerns, then address them one by one.
People may buy for emotional reasons, but they need to backup that emotional spending with facts and return-on-investment. Sell your customers based on their perceived value, and not your own.
Sales is a process, so find a method that works for you that also fits naturally within the structure of your company. Follow these steps to create a solid sales process:
- Follow-up correspondence immediately — cover all action items and make their job easy;
- Set calendar follow-ups to keep communication open;
- Make an “Ask” for an order, for a referral, for another meetings, etc.;
- Accept rejection gracefully; and
- Find out the real reason for the rejection.
When it comes time to make the sales pitch, make sure that you are thoroughly prepared. Get ready mentally before the meeting. Psych yourself up for a great meeting and a positive outcome.
Greet the customer by saying your name, saying their name, and looking them in the eye. Use strong, positive body language to portray confidence.
Present your value proposition and differentiate yourself from the competition. Why should they buy from you and your company?
You must know your product (or have access to someone who knows the product extremely well), and outline the features and benefits of your product, and what those mean to the customer. Remember that selling on price can be dangerous, even if you are the low-cost producer.
Be sure to practice your pitch, because the real secret to a good pitch is that it doesn’t sound like a pitch. Use the rule of the “elevator pitch” and keep it to no more than two minutes and 30 seconds.
Make your product relatable by telling a story — but only after the customer has told theirs.
Perseverance is key in a good relationship. Passion enhances your perseverance.
Show your passion — it cannot be faked, and it trumps everything. The salesperson with the most fire almost always wins.
Set yourself apart from the pack; in this age of electronic communication, a handwritten note holds true power.
Strive for true grit — where passion, persistence and execution meet.