What is relationship-based selling and why is building healthy working relationships with your clients vital to the success of your business? The word “relationship” may lead one to believe that you spend hours upon hours small talking with your clients. Not true. Just as in personal relationships, it takes time to get to know others.
You may have clients that prefer a “transactional” approach when conducting business. Get in, get what they need, and get out. But taking the time to learn that about your client, how they like to handle their day to day business interactions that is, is a huge part of relationship selling. Not all target audiences are created equal; some like small talk, some are all business. Some want to talk about their families, some don’t. Some will only communicate via email. Others prefer the phone or in person interactions.
The below statistics tell us how most buyers feel about the people they are conducting business with:
- 82% of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are unprepared
- 68% of B2B customers are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy, not because of mistakes
- According to Gallop, only 46% of customers said vendors deliver on what was promised
How to Build Relationships
How do we work outside of these stats and ensure we are building healthy working relationships with clients? Ultimately, to guarantee our place in business, we must show value, create comfort and reason to trust. Of course, we must deliver on expectations.
Now, more than ever, we have seen a shift in the “socialization” (or lack thereof) with clients. The Pandemic has put a stop to taking someone out to lunch or dinner. There is no playing a round of golf. There is no grabbing a drink after work. There is no getting together at all. The act of socializing with our buyers can aid tremendously in the building of a relationship.
Golf – Building Connections
Golf provides an opportunity to learn about your buyer. Because a typical round of golf requires 4 to 5 hours to complete, there is ample opportunity to discuss a number of topics. IT specifically, is a brainstorm industry. So much to learn, digest, debate, and consider when discussing options and ways in which we use IT to better the lives of our end-users.
What does your client want to know about? What keeps them up at night? What is causing problems at work? What do we know about the topic that may be helpful? Is there something stopping them from making certain changes? Is there something bothering them about their relationship with you or your company? Plenty of time to learn everything you need to know.
Golf provides an outlet for stress: While golf can be the most frustrating thing that you’ll ever learn to love, it can become a terrific outlet for everyone to handle work-related stress. In order to become proficient, tremendous focus is required. You can’t be rehashing an unfavorable meeting while you’re trying to sink a 10-foot putt. IT professionals specifically, spend an unbelievable amount of time behind computers, in data centers, isolated from others and working on fixing problems. It’s important to give these hard-working individuals an escape from the stress of their every-day lives.
It provides a chance to bond: Golf can give the player an opportunity to build friendships that last a lifetime. It’s something that people can form a common interest in, while providing a platform to share time and enjoy a common experience-all of which bonds people.
Though golf is a great example of how we can build long-lasting working relationships, let’s face it, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Lunch, dinner, drinks, or anything in social setting for that matter is just as beneficial. Maybe your client has a significant other and/or kids. Maybe they want to spend spare time with family. Great! Sporting event with both families? Hike and lunch? There are endless ways in which you can spend time with your clients, build solid relationships, and do it in ways that make the most sense for each individual person.
The important thing to remember is that if you can find ways to truly get to know your clients, the more likely everyone’s success is in a two-way partnership.
As social connection is important, we will be getting creative with ways we can connect with our clients during this unique time. Our hope is to visit our clients while following social distancing guidelines. Virtual events and activities will be available for education, certification training and more.
How are you managing your partnerships during this pandemic?