The most successful B2B companies use relationship selling to increase sales — focusing on client relationships and providing value. Relationship selling is a “customer-centric” sales mentality, where the sales rep develops a relationship with the prospect providing value and assistance throughout each stage of their buying journey. Unlike the traditional transactional sale, where the product or service is handed off, never to hear from the company again, relationship selling requires a deeper understanding of your prospects’ goals and challenges to learn how you can help — before, during, and after the sale. This article will review six tips to help you provide consistent value and increase sales with relationship selling.
Provide Value and Increase Sales With Relationship Selling
1. Show Genuine Interest
Having a clear understanding of your prospect’s challenges, objectives, and professional goals is the first step in providing value. Provide value by showing a genuine interest in your prospects — focusing on what’s important to them, building a rapport, and developing a relationship from the start.
To show genuine interest, you must be consistent, honest, and transparent during all forms of communication. Team members that present an open and welcoming attitude are more likely to secure the connections needed to see a sale through fruition. The more you can learn about your prospects, the better you can assess mutual fit and increase the likelihood of sales and repeat business. Get the conversation moving by asking customers about their business challenges.
- Who are your main competitors, and how do you compare?
- What are your long- and short-term financial goals?
- What are the issues or disconnects you’re trying to resolve?
But how will I remember all of the information that I have gleaned from prospects in the past?
By using a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM), sales reps can store all of the information needed to recall previous conversations, consistently check in with contacts and customers, and exceed customer expectations, again and again. And by incorporating a sales playbook into your sales strategy, you’ll be able to standardize best practices, making your sales process scalable, repeatable, and successful.
Download our free sales playbook and access sales enablement materials, strategies, discovery call questions, KPIs, buyer personas, and more!
2. Be an Industry Leader
Regardless of your industry, it’s your job to stay ahead. Staying ahead means becoming acquainted with your customers’ business and the ability to identify and anticipate problems in their field. Challenges arise, and it’s important to have the knowledge and skillset to provide a solution that will help the customer feel secure in their actions. As much as you’re trying to provide exceptional value, you won’t be able to if your knowledge of industry trends and changes lags behind your customers. Here are a few things you can do to be known as a thought leader in your field:
- Create content to share your thoughts and expertise
- Establish credibility by going into detail — what’s worked and what hasn’t?
- Start engaging on social media and answer the questions that no one else will
- Increase your presence and post to multiple platforms
3. Communication is Key
Automation is a vital component of every successful sales plan. However, the overuse of automated chat flows and sales workflows could have an adverse effect on your relationship selling process. When a prospect or customer attempts to make contact, a team member should respond as quickly as possible to ensure the contact speaks to a real person, not just a robot providing quick links and additional resources.
Once connected, be an active listener — truly focus on what is being said. If you are contributing to more than 40% of the conversation, that may be a sign that you need to rethink your sales strategy. Use your knowledge and experience in the industry to help prospects provide the information you need while demonstrating that you have the solution — “Some of our clients have experienced a problem with “X,” have you found that to be the case?” Or “How is your company handling the “Y” problem right now?” and “What are the implications on your business if you do not find a solution?”
4. Provide Content With Value
One of the most effective relationship selling strategies that provides value is sending relevant content to help your prospects solve a problem. For example, suppose your prospect expresses concern with tying leads, customers, and dollars back to their marketing initiatives; you might suggest an introduction to closed-loop marketing and discuss potential case studies you’ve had success with. In a follow-up email, add a link to a blog post that talks about the benefits of implementing this type of marketing strategy. Or, depending on their stage in the buyers’ journey, add a link to your landing page to download a free Closed-Loop Marketing ebook.
Prospects will have different questions depending on their stage in the buyer’s journey. If you know that your prospects typically request information about “X” at the consideration stage, deliver a piece of content to address those questions — before they ask.
By providing targeted, relevant content at the right time, you can increase online visibility and awareness, be known as a thought leader in your industry, and ultimately build trust with your prospects. Even after the deal has moved to “closed-won,” — view this as an opportunity to delight your customers with additional information or relevant solutions surrounding your product or services. Continue to offer highly targeted, personalized content, so the customer feels engaged and appreciated — thus becoming an advocate for your product or service.
Examples of ongoing engagement content:
- Webinars & Online Events
5. Relationship Selling Puts Clients First and Sales Second
Relationship selling is a marathon, not a sprint. Selling a prospect on products or services that aren’t a good fit might help you meet your monthly sales quota but can often lead to a disgruntled customer and negatively affect your business. To avoid a bad review, subscription cancellation, or refund request, focus on the clients’ needs first and use that information to decide which services are most beneficial to your customer. This customer-centric mentality will help sales reps to be viewed as trustworthy, provide opportunities for referrals and rave reviews, and increase the likelihood of customers purchasing additional services when suggested.
6. Encourage Feedback
Customers want to be heard. Encouraging feedback will show their opinions matter and contribute to the larger picture. Additionally, requesting and thanking them for their honest opinion will nurture open communication and build solid relationships. Furthermore, by asking for feedback, you will gain insight into ways you can improve your products and services and make them more appealing to future prospects.
Increase Sales With Relationship Selling
By prioritizing client relationships, being actively and genuinely engaged, and providing value at every stage of your sales process, you’ll build relationships that will increase opportunities to upsell, cross-sell, and leave you at the top of your sales team.
Are you ready to get your Inbound Marketing programs running? Are you confused about how to develop a winning strategy or unsure about where to start?
Download our free lead generation acceleration guide — 10 Steps to Increase Lead Generation to learn how you can generate more qualified leads, boost conversions, and increase sales for your business.