Directly or indirectly, solid relationships are a driving force in building sales. As consumers, we ask our friends and neighbors for vendors they recommend, with whom they have had a successful relationship. Word-of-mouth advertising is huge.
Alternatively, we often gravitate to those vendors with whom we have had personal contact. The successful vendor might be our kid’s T-ball coach, or a neighbor, or someone we have met socially or in a business networking group.
In the corporate world, we rely on brand names to provide a consistent and predictable experience. We have a relationship with the brand, if not the specific vendor. We stop by a McDonald’s for a burger and fries because we know the brand.
In each of these cases, we gravitate toward vendors we directly or indirectly know, like and trust. Relationships provide reassurance and decrease uncertainty.
So as business professionals, how can we develop the relationships which can assist in building sales?
Six Tips: Building Relationships and Building Sales
- Live with integrity. Duplicity destroys relationships. If you are not trustworthy and honest across the board, customers have no reason to trust you in business.
- Reach out in multiple forums. Build connections with parents at soccer games, or participants in your book club, or people at the health club. Be genuinely interested in them as individuals. Ask about their occupations. Some may lead to business relationships, but even if they don’t, your life is richer for having made the connection.
- Inform. Tell people the problem you solve. Know your product. Become a resource and a colleague, not an antagonist.
- Be helpful. What do you know that can help others? What connections can you make to benefit those you meet? Be generous. Grow and nurture relationships.
- Connect with the person. Behind the title of “Owner,” or “President,” or “Chief Procurement Officer,” or beyond the targeted consumer, there is a person. Get to know the person.
- Stay in touch. Connect on LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest or other social media. Forward articles on topics in which they have an interest. Send congratulations on their work anniversaries, birthdays, job changes and promotions. For closer business friends, occasionally set aside time to catch up over coffee. Do’t ignore or slight your long term relationships while chasing after new ones.
Relationships and Building Sales
Building relationships is not an overnight process. It takes time to build familiarity and trust. You might not win every client every time. But a personal relationship can become the key factor to closing business. Make the investment. Build relationships and set the groundwork for building sales, now and in the future.