What is Relationship Selling?
Are you a relationship seller or a transactional seller? What’s the difference, you may ask? Well, transactional selling is quick and impersonalised. This works well for low-cost products where it’s not necessary to invest in building a relationship with a customer. Relationship selling on the other hand prioritises the connection and trust between the seller and the buyer. They build this relationship over time – usually by adding value to client interactions and by prepping a prospect before closing a sale. Relationship selling works well if your prices are higher than average.
Relationship selling is important for expensive products because prospects need to know that they can trust you before parting with their money. They need to know should something go wrong, you are there to help.
Six steps of relationship selling
There are six steps to relationship selling:
- Adding value
- Understanding the customer
- Giving personalised recommendations
- Resolving objections
- Developing a win-win solution
- Continuing to provide value
1) Adding value
To gain trust with a stranger, you must add a degree of value to their life. They must feel that your presence fixes something that was terribly wrong. You can do this by spending time talking about their problems, sending relevant resources and articles, and lastly, by reaching out with some helpful suggestions.
2) Understanding the customer
This is perhaps one of the most important steps. You must dig deep into your prospect’s pain to understand the solution that they need. The “one size fits all” approach never works with relationship selling. Ask questions about their challenges, past attempts to rectify problems, goals and overall objectives.
What you’re trying to find out here is whether your solution will really be the best option for them and whether they can afford it. These are called pre-qualifying questions. Don’t jump right into “sale mode” — you must first educate your prospect on what’s wrong with their current situation and what the alternative is. If you force it you may make a sale, but you may struggle to have repeat customers.
3) Giving personalised recommendations
Following from the point above, give personalised recommendations. Combine your knowledge from point 1) and 2) above to deliver a tailored solution that fits your prospects circumstances as well as budget.
Substantiate your recommendations with testimonials from customers who have been in the same situation.
4) Resolving objections
In the sales world, objections are inevitable. The real triumph is learning how to respond to them so that you can save the deal.
Often salespeople fail to respond to objections due to shock and fear. They do not adequately prepare for negative responses and therefore take an objection at face value.
An objection is not always a negative sign. Sometimes it means that a prospect needs a little push to make his/her decision. Don’t be aggressive – your prospect just wants the right solution.
To help you, here are 10 common objections salespeople receive along with intelligent responses you can use.
5) Developing a win-win solution
Relationship selling is about developing a situation that works for both you and your prospect. If you scam a client out of their money or you act selfishly, you will erode the trust that you built from the beginning. It’s important to be honest. If you don’t have the best solution for a prospect, let them know.
Come prepared with several options to choose from in case your prospect feels they need something else. Proactively providing several options — opt-ins and opt-outs, you are essentially showing your prospect that you are on their side.
6) Continuing to provide value
Many salespeople tend to disappear after they’ve made a sale – this doesn’t work in relationship selling. You must continue nurturing the relationship to avoid them thinking you were only interested in the sale.
Reach out in the following ways:
- Email marketing campaigns
- Email “check-ins”
- Event invitations
- Cards and best wishes
The main premise for relationship selling is this: Always think in the long-term and go the extra mile.
SnappSales is a lead generation company that provides quality leads to IT and Software companies. We understand relationship selling all too well. So well that we have built relationships for many small businesses that have gone to be successful. If you want SnappSales to build relationships for you, give us a call!