Forget Selling Focus On Relationships

Many business leaders have a problem with selling.  Well, let me clarify that point:  They have a problem with what they THINK selling is.

They view selling as forcing your products and services on someone until they submit to your will.

Professionals, particularly lawyers, are so intimidated by the thought of “selling,” they have to be protected by their governing body. In Florida, for example, the Florida Bar (the body that regulates professional conduct among lawyers) prohibits solicitation. Basically, if you are a lawyer in Florida, you cannot offer your services to anyone unless they specifically ask you for help.

Leaders of large companies are also really, really bad at selling. Take your CEO on a sales call and watch what happens. It will be one extreme or the other. He will either puke features and benefits on the client or he will give away the store.

This happens because people misunderstand the function of the sales process.

Selling is the process you use to build relationships with your clients.  Good relationships are built on a foundation of trust.  Trust requires clear, direct, valuable communication.

Here are four easy steps you can follow to build positive relationships. Follow these steps during the conversation and you will have the beginning of a positive relationship.

Ask About Them

If you “show up and throw up” nobody will want to listen to you. Do not walk into a room with a prospect and spit out information. You need to begin a meeting with a prospective client by asking questions.

“What are your goals for this year?”

“How has the economy impacted your business?”

“How would you describe the state of the industry?”

Find Out What Is Important To Them

This is the “relationship” business. You need to find out why those things are important to the person sitting across the table from you.

“What would achieving those goals mean to you personally?”

“How does the industry upheaval impact you? Does it make your job more difficult?”

“Does the economic uncertainty make it more difficult for you to do your job?”

Make An Emotional Connection

How do you feel about what you do for a living?  Are you passionate?  Is that passion apparent to the people when they meet you?

Most people who are good at their job are passionate about it. Ask questions that allow you to make an emotional connection.

“How have things changed since you started here?”

“What’s happening in the industry that concerns you?

“If you could change one thing about your current situation what would it be?”

Most of us want people to like us.  That is how relationships start.  People do business with people they know, like, and trust.  Once they know you, they have to develop positive feelings for you in order for the relationship to advance.

Offer To Help

Once you have hit a nerve, meaning, once they have attached emotion to their goals or to something they need to change, offer to help.

So if they say their goal is to increase productivity by 20% and that will impact them personally because their bonus is tied to productivity improvement, and things have changed in the industry through the introduction of new technology they don’t fully grasp…

…you can offer to help by saying:

“I’m not sure if you’re looking for help with that, but I have an idea. Our team has a system for productivity improvement that has worked really well for companies like (mention two of the prospect’s competitors).

Would you like to see it?”

That is the essence of selling. Identifying an issue and helping the client solve it.

Selling is helping someone with whom you have a relationship.

Build the relationship first.

Be sure to check out these resources as well:

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