NAVIGATION

August 16, 2017

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida Business

How to build a better business relationship with your customers

Ron Stein | 7/28/2017

Building a real relationship is hard work. It requires trust, mutual respect, and open communication. It can take a while, yet when it happens it’s worth the effort. Life is wonderful and you’re all smiles all the time.

Queue the singing birds and fireworks!

On a personal level, we don’t tend to have many close friends like this. Oh sure, we have playground friends and Facebook friends, but these are just acquaintances. Most won’t stick with you when the going gets tough.

This isn’t much different than the world of business. Except, building authentic business connections can be more challenging. That’s because you probably want to grow your company and its revenue, which means you’ll need lots of friends, AKA buyers.

Customers can be new friends. But making these friends -- especially getting them to buy your stuff -- involves trust and mutual respect. In an ideal world, great relationships continue even after the business dealings have ended. That may not happen often; still the respect for each other is real.

Drive-by relationships won’t do. Trust and mutual respect starts with solid communications.

At this point you’re agreeing with me (admit it!) and at the same time thinking, “but how will I establish relationships with so many different people that are truly valued by each?”

Here are some practical ways to help your business build and maintain real connections with people you don’t know very well -- yet.

It’s always a conversation. It’s nearly impossibly to communicate effectively without seeing a person’s body language or facial expression. That’s great when you’re at a networking event, but how about in an email, a brochure, or on Twitter? No matter how you connect, always write and have phone conversations like a friend is sitting across the table from you. The best way to get your message across is to do it by understanding other people and show them you identify with their issues. This is how conversations start and your buyers begin to like, and then trust you. Sure, people know you ultimately would like to sell them something and that’s okay. Just remember, buyers will see through impersonal messages and fake “authenticity”. Be real and talk with people, not at them!

The #1 way to build trust quickly – ask questions. Earning the right of getting others to want to listen to you starts with building rapport. Ideally you’d like to find common ground, but that can take time in today’s fast-paced selling environment. The quickest way to promote a trusting relationship is to ask questions. This gets the conversation flowing and increases the chances of a sale dramatically. It helps you learn how best to serve the buyer’s needs. It helps them realize that you are listening to their needs and concerns. Just make sure your questions are sincere and the approach is real! In practice that shouldn’t be an issue because you are targeting an audience that’s perfect for you and in turn, your company is perfect for them. Depending on the type of products or services you’re selling and the communications channel, questions can be straightforward, personal, and even thought provoking. In person and over the phone, the rule of thumb is to talk no more than 30 percent of the time. Let that guide your online approach too!

Add tons of value while overcoming risks. In a great business relationship each party has an emotional stake in the other’s success. You can get to that point sooner than later with a simple formula: Value = Benefits - Risk. Interestingly, value comes in many forms and is in the eyes on the buyer, but again, you understand your target persona. You’ll always be on save ground offering something before asking for something, like an order. Whether asking questions or asserting a bold statement on your website and social media, offer value at ever step. Communicate the outcomes buyers can expect and how any risks are overcome. Risk-proof your offering with game changing benefits that blast past the perceived pain of adopting your solution. That’s much more than a sales technique -- it’s part of the conversation and relationship building. Because, a real friend does what they can to add value and reduce risks -- in both business and personal relationships. Plus, people don’t like to guess how your product or service can help them and how that’s better than the competition. Let your buyers know you’ve got their back, and mean it!

Us humans know when someone is more interested in selling than opening a two-way conversation.

Relationships determine the business opportunities you’re presented with and the deals you’ll win. Creating authentic connections, online and offline, will lead to winning business relationships.

Are you connected or connecting?

Ron Stein is founder of More Customers Academy, helping business leaders build strategic messaging and positioning that cuts through the competitive noise to grow revenue. Ron has developed his own highly successful 5-step Stand Out & Sell More approach to winning new customers as a result of his twenty-five years of business development, marketing, and selling experiences. He works with a range of businesses, from startups to large corporations across industries including technology and healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services and banking. Ron conducts workshops, leads company meetings, offers keynote talks, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or by email.

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