Trending This Week: Build Stronger Sales Relationships by Starting with a Deposit
November 3, 2017
In our modern selling environment, it seems the relationship-building aspect of the job often gets downplayed. A couple weeks ago in this space, we highlighted an emerging line of thought that suggests expertise and insight-driven consultation should be the priority for tactical sales pros, and that building rapport with customers is not the significant differentiator it once was.
There may be some truth to this, but at a time where earning buyer trust is as vital as ever, creating and maintaining that strong bond remains paramount. In a recent post at Sales for Life, Amy Volas explores this topic deeply, arguing that relationships are still key for sales and we should be building them on social media.
As Volas notes, the increased adoption of sales tech is largely a good thing but it can sometimes cause us to get away from the fundamentals of relationship-building and human connections. So, how can we leverage the new tools at our disposal to deliver good old-fashioned friendly service that compels buyers to do business with us?
Make a Deposit
Volas leads with this piece of advice, and it’s a good one. Before you ask anything of a prospect, it’s smart to first give them something. You can’t withdraw from the bank without making a deposit.
Generating goodwill up-front is a critical step in framing yourself as a trusted advisor. Spend a little prep time researching prospects -- professional interests, recent job changes, business hurdles, etc. -- and then try to do something helpful for them.
Volas provides suggestions such as sharing their content with your network for increased visibility, or connecting them to an acquaintance they might benefit from knowing. She adds, “the key is to do it without expecting anything in return or making a ridiculous shameless plug of yourself in the process.” Be genuine and generous, and folks will remember.
Relationship-Building Tools for Sales Pros
The inherent problem with the strategy outlined above is that we only have so much time in a day. While it might sound nice in theory to do all these favors for strangers without expecting anything in return, we can’t very well spend all of our working hours doing so. But luckily, there are numerous tools you can utilize to make this process much quicker and easier.
In her article, Volas offers up several apps and browser extensions she finds invaluable for a personalized social selling approach. Among them are LinkedIn Premium (“I spend way more time here than I care to admit”), Sales Navigator (“My LinkedIn sales weapon of choice”), Crystal (“tells me how to engage through really smart tech”), Boomerang (“makes my email life a heck of a lot easier”), and more.
These tools all help cut down the time required to effectively research and engage potential leads. When you find a mix that works for you, social selling can become an efficient and extremely fruitful part of your daily routine.
And finally, Volas lists one additional tool that she asserts we cannot overlook in this age of ubiquitous sales technology: the telephone. The obsolete practice of cold-calling is now rightfully discouraged in many corners, but once you’ve made an intro and begun to build a relationship with someone, a phone conversation can sometimes be more productive in advancing things than exclusive communication through text or email.
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