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Selling ... and Business Relationships

One of the most difficult things to teach new sales people is how to build strong business relationships, and yet it really is not all that difficult.

There is an old saying that "people buy from people", and I don't think many professional sales people would argue much with that.

I would however modify that a little and would like to suggest that in today's hyper-competitive, global economy people buy from those who deliver the best value. Yet, if there is not a good relationship that business connection is always at risk. So my suggestion is that the best answer today is "people buy from people who deliver value".

It is not really enough to be good, you need that relationship in order to keep serving your client well.

So ... what does it take to have a good business relationship?

1. Regular communication ... face to face!
2. A real interest in your client ... which means listening more than talking.
3. A willingness to go to bat for your client.
4. An ability to have an honest discussion and even say "no" when you have to, but in a way that is professional.

When I talk with other business owners and sales managers it appears that they are all concerned about the time their sales people spend in the office as opposed to getting in front of clients. The only way to build a good client relationship is to be out talking with them. It all starts by talking, by getting to know each other at a professional level and a little bit on the personal level. Very often good clients can become good friends, but that is just one of the great bonuses that comes with the job. The real goal is to have a great business relationship ... an ability to pick up the phone and know they will meet with you, and are happy to hear from you.

I love going on sales calls and talking with clients, hearing about their challenges, and telling them about Eagle. Every time I am reminded about what a great job it is to be a salesperson.

To sales people my message is this ... clients want to talk with you, they want you to pay them attention and look out for their needs. What a great job you have ... so get out there and build the relationships one at a time!