What is your definition of selling? If your definition of selling is pressuring people to buy things they don’t want, then that belief may be holding your own sales back. ActionCOACH’s definition of selling is: “Professionally helping people buy what they want.”
Let’s consider how most people approach buying anything:
- We love to buy but hate to be sold
- We buy from people we like
- We like people we trust
- We trust people who care about us and who demonstrate that in some tangible way
- In short, we buy from people with whom we have relationships
So if prospects buy from people with whom they have a relationship then the fastest way to increase sales is to have more mutually beneficial relationships. Think about that for a moment and then ask yourself, How does cold calling fit into that model? How do product pitches fit into that model? And how does the desperate-for-a-sale type salesperson fit into that model? The answer is they don’t.
So how do you build relationships?
- Connect- You need to be around prospects that might be able to use your product or service so you can interact with them. This is includes working with your existing customers, networking to meet new people face to face or broad-based communications (eZines, Web, direct marketing) to offer value to those who may be ready to buy.
- Listen- The first step in building a relationship is to listen and learn about the other person. What are the challenges, problems or concerns of the prospects you have met or the audience you are addressing? Ask the questions: What is the biggest challenge you face? How could anyone help you? What would you like to do differently in the next 90-days?
- Add Value- You have to give real value to demonstrate that you care about the prospect in order to start creating a relationship.
Let’s look as some examples of how business owners can increase the number of connections:
- A software patent attorney called other attorneys he knew, none of whom focused on the software patent area. He asked them to coffee, lunch or breakfast and then chatted with them about their business and his looking for ways to help them. In several cases he was able to offer to do software patent work for existing clients of the other attorney thus making the other attorney more valuable in the eyes of their client and building a stronger relationship with the attorney leading to referrals of new clients who needed software patents.
- The owner of a database management company created a referral system to encourage existing customers to introduce him to new prospects. He included a monetary reward for any introduction that led to a sale. He was able to make connections with several new prospects this way.
- Other business owners have used Chamber of Commerce meetings, or other networking meetings to make new connections by focusing on how they can help the people they meet rather than simply spouting their infomercial. You have probably experienced the boring 60 second monologue. Keep your opening statement to 3 seconds and let the person ask you to tell them more. (Click here for an ActionCOACH Business Tip on How to Maximize Results at Networking Events).
- A real estate attorney wanted to make new connections with mortgage brokers but couldn’t find a networking venue and didn’t believe any broker would take the time to meet with an unknown attorney. He had a fruit basket from Edible Arrangements sent to mortgage brokers with a note that said, “I’m not your average real estate attorney and I will stop by your office next week to discuss how I can help you. Enjoy the fruit.” Sufficient to say, the broker was eager to meet with the attorney when he stopped by as he had already given value and in a very memorable way!
The old adage is that sales is a numbers game, and that is true. But rather than thinking that you have to meet X prospects per week, to have Y sales meetings, to make Z sales, think about how many connections you can make this week and how many of those connections you can provide added value to so they will become mutually beneficial relationships.
A great book on increasing sales through making connections is Jeffrey Gitomer’s The Little Black Book of Connections. You can find a link to Jeffrey’s book on Amazon by clicking here.
Brad Sugars founded the brand Action International in 1993 when he realized there was a disconnect between business advice and implementation. The answer was Action! Brad Sugars created a business coaching company so that business owners throughout the world can realize their goals in business. Today the company is known as ActionCOACH. To learn more about business, visit Brad Sugars Review blog!