Selling your product or service to the masses in today’s modern business climate can certainly be a challenge. There are really two schools of thought on how best to approach it. There is “traditional selling,” where you’re essentially making a constant pitch to your audience regarding what you have to offer. Then there’s “relationship selling,” which many argue is a much more organic and meaningful approach. Relationship selling doesn’t ask “how can I get this person to buy what I’m offering?” and instead, shifts things towards “how can I help the person in front of me?” If the answer to that question happens to involve your product, fantastic.
Today’s sophisticated customer base requires a higher level of customer service than at any point up to now. If you want to reinvent relationship selling, you’ll have to act accordingly.
It’s All About Trust
If you think about the healthy relationships you’ve forged in your personal life, the one quality they probably all share is trust. This simple idea MUST carry over into the world of relationship selling for the best results. Try as you may, but you’ll never be able to change the fact that people are more likely to do business with people they trust than ones they don’t. To build this sense of trust, let them get to know you – either in person through face-to-face meetings or by bringing them into a professional social network like LinkedIn.
“What Have You Done For Me Lately?”
Though traditional selling and social selling are very different concepts, they’re still founded on similar principles. Case in point: one of the single most effective ways to reinvent your relationship selling strategy is to cut right back to the bare essentials; ask yourself the question “what do I have to do to address this customer’s needs?” Sometimes that involves changing a product or adding new features to better address the problems in your customer’s lives. To do this, however, you need to do your research and get to know your target audience in the way that will clue you into what their concerns actually are.
Remember: a large part of relationship selling isn’t just trying to create a sale for your product or service. You’re also trying to sell the most important commodity of all: yourself. Position yourself as a consultant, and let your customer know that you’re more than just a business, you’re a true problem solver in their life. Concentrate your efforts on helping your customer achieve their goals and satisfy their needs, even if your product or service isn’t necessarily the way to do that. You may lose out on a short-term sale, but what you’ll be gaining in the form of a long-term relationship will bring dividends for a lifetime.