Sales is, ultimately, an art of relationship building. Transactional Sales, in an attempt to grab at any and every source of income, has dominated the industry for several years now. This trend has been spurred on by the ubiquitous use of the internet, social marketing, and the introduction of many CRM platforms. Because of this, many salespeople have become less predictive, and unskilled at the art of developing a long lasting account for their organization. Moreover, companies see a large turnover in sales because they hire unskilled salespeople and rely on lead generation to do the heavy lifting. This is an unsustainable model.
A revolutionary change is needed, which I propose is returning to skilled, insightful, consultative sales. In essence, a step backward to the way salespeople used to service their accounts represents the new “cutting edge” step out of transactional sales.
Here are four tips to building lasting sales relationships in 2015. Applying these tips to your leads in 2015 can build your funnel out for the future and ensure consistent customers and stable revenue streams.
- Understand that the information which populates in your CRM software, or mailing list are more than just leads, they are people. They exist off of the paper, they have thoughts and ideas, families, and hobbies. View them as more than the gatekeeper to a revenue stream.
- Once you realize that your lead is a real person, let them know that you are one too. You should not come off as the slimy popular stereotype of a salesperson. Exist outside of your service or product. Be smart, confident, insightful, charming, and audacious. Initially, you are selling yourself more than anything else.
- Listen to the buyer’s needs. Often the buyer knows that there is a pain, but is not sure what the solution is. They have expectations, but they also have negative habits that have led them to see out solutions. Once you have heard the buyer’s needs, apply research, offer suggestions, and push back against resistance. Once you have identified the pain and solution be tenacious in the execution.
- Make your buyer feel like they are your only customer, but set up boundaries early. Provide for their every need, even before they need it. Do not let them return to habits that got them where they are. Prove the value of your service or product. But do not let them think that they can dictate your time outside of the contract. Friends need boundaries, and the salesperson and buyer relationship needs that as well. If you delivery above and beyond consistently, it will become expected, leading to the client questioning a decrease in service level when you return to the confines of the contract.