When our parents went through sales training, they were taught to persuade people to buy. Today’s society is of a whole different nature. Success in sales today relies on relationships. That’s what we’re focusing on today—the fact that selling today is all about building profitable business friendships.
Now, there’s a big difference between a social friendship and a business friendship. In a social friendship, each person has the same expectation of sharing laughs, going out together, and being nice in general. In a business friendship, things are a little different. The expectation is that a profit will be made by one party and a value received by the other. And the difference between a business relationship and a business friendship is simple: the seller really cares about and watches out for the customer. In this way, selling is an act of friendship, not a process of negotiation.
Business Friendships Expect Professionalism and Caring.
The job of a salesman is to make a difference, not to make sale. For example, if you make a sale to a customer who goals don’t match the product, they can easily cancel the sale and resent you for the rest of your career.
No, what you want is to make the sales that will make a difference to the people who actually need the product. This results in profitable business friendships instead of canceled sales and customer resentment.
Treat Every Relationship as if it were the Beginning of a Forest of Relationships.
You never know when a small contact with one customer could turn into something much greater if you keep in touch with that customer appropriately. For example, if you provide a great product or service to one customer, they could recommend you to dozens of close friends, which could turn into a forest of profitable business friendships.
Even a single customer who comes back for service or additional products on a regular basis could provide you with a whole forest of transactions over the next few years. In that way, once someone does business with you, the relationship and potential business friendship has officially begun.
Building Trust is More Important than Product Knowledge.
If you think cramming your head full of product knowledge is the way to make a sale, you’ve been going about it all wrong. Sure, you may still make some sales, but you’re almost guaranteed to make more sales if you make it priority to listen to and study your customers. If you can bring the tension in a selling situation down, the trust automatically goes up. And once you have a customer’s trust, you have their business for a lifetime.
As you sell, keep the 8 Competencies of Selling in mind:
- Prepare yourself and your products/services.
- Target the right markets and individuals.
- Connect with people so they trust and understand you as a competent professional.
- Assess the needs and wants of your customers.
- Solve problems in a sales presentation that educates and collaborates with the customer.
- Get a commitment to purchase from the customer.
- Assure satisfaction, both immediately and in the future.
- Manage yourself and your sales.
You can complete sales training by yourself if you assess which of these areas you are competent in and where you need to grow, so you become an effective, successful sales professional.
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