The Complete Guide To Relationship Selling (in 2021)
Published on February 5, 2021 by Sushant Shekhar
Today everything is about automation. In the sales world too, there is a lot of focus on the metrics and processes rather than relationships. You will find the use of bots and AI everywhere. But, does that mean the human-to-human bond is obsolete? The truth is that no technology can replace the warmth of human relationships in the sales process.
Sales is usually difficult for those who are into B2B selling. However, there is no dearth of sales techniques available all over the internet. But, no matter what sales gurus say, one sales tactic that you must master as a salesperson is ‘Relationship Selling’.
We are going to talk about the following:
Let’s dive in!
What is Relationship Selling?
Relationship selling refers to a sales technique that emphasizes the connection between a salesperson and a potential customer instead of getting into product details and price negotiation.
In place of putting the spotlight on the product or service, the main focus is on the seller-buyer interaction.
Also, the relationship selling tactic is generally for businesses having high ticket size products and services to sell, with long sales cycles.
For software, the potential client may take time to take the decision because there is research, comparison with other contenders, and much more. If you are having a good relationship with the prospect, the possibility of making a sale increases, and you may likely be able to retain the customer for future upsells too.
Basically, it is all about building a long-term relationship with customers and that means that a closed deal is not the end of the seller-customer connection.
Relationship selling examples everyday life
Now, just get into the shoes of a buyer and notice how relationship selling is all around you without you knowing it.
You would visit the same tailor over and over again because you like him as a person.
You go to the same salon every month and the staff there knows you by name and has your preferences in mind.
It is definitely a form of relationship-based selling where a customer builds a rapport with the seller or business.
Stages of Relationship Selling
Importance of Relationship Selling
In the B2B scenario, relationship selling does matter. Going beyond just selling a product is important if you want to win in the long run as a salesperson.
Below are some stats to prove this point:
Businesses lose 68 percent of their customers not due to mistakes they commit but due to the lack of concern and interest.
Biznology says 82 percent of B2B decision-makers think sales reps are not prepared.
When customer retention increases by 5%, profits spike by 25%
It is 5 to 25 times costlier to gain a new customer than retaining an existing one.
The above stats indicate that it is important for salespeople to show interest in the customer rather than in the sale of their product or service.
Techniques used for Relationship Selling
Relationship selling is a rather old-school way of making sales and that is why certain techniques may seem to be outdated with the technological advancement in today’s age. However, many such techniques should be adopted for success.
Here are some of them that salespeople can practice:
1) Listen more
If you think that speaking non-stop about the product will close the deal, you are wrong!
The buyer-seller connection is important and without it, you can’t expect fantastic results. To build that connection, you need to speak less. Get involved in understanding the requirements and wants of your prospect.
Listening patiently will make you the customer’s favorite. It is more important in the long run than your personal gain from the deal. In return, you will learn more about their requirements and the difficulties they face. You can use that knowledge to tweak the sales pitch so that you can close a deal eventually.
Listening to customers should be inculcated as a habit in salespeople and should not just remain a mere sales technique.
2) Connect on Social media
When you are into B2B selling, the sale cycle is long. You can use the time in hand to get close to the prospect with the help of social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Your presence on social media can be beneficial in many ways.
Also, stats say that salespeople who are there on social media are able to sell more than 78 percent of their colleagues.
According to a study, 84% of CEOs and VPs turn to social media to make buying decisions.
What you can do is use your social media account to stay in touch with your potential customer.
You can wish them a happy birthday and leave a comment on their new profile pic.
This way you will be able to interact with the person out of your professional boundaries. This will work in your favor because when the time comes to make the buying decision, the potential customer will think of you.
However, you must be genuine. If you are faking it, you won’t be able to tread too far.
3) Get to know customers personally
Salespeople should build a long-term relationship with potential customers.
Talk to them and understand what their interests are, follow what they are posting on social media so that you can get topics to start a conversation. It is quite natural for individuals to feel better when they connect to those who have things in common with them. You can find a common ground by talking about the customer’s native/hometown, schooling, University, pets, job, interests, and hobbies.
Make sure you don’t choose a topic that can’t build your relationship ahead.
4) Value commitments and be honest
As a salesperson, it is very important to be a man (or woman!) of words. If you don’t honor your commitment, the trust that prospects have on you will get damaged. It is therefore essential to stick to deadlines and do what you promise.
On a similar note, you have to be honest with what you are doing. This can be tricky but when you present the product details, pricing, and the fine print clearly to the prospects, you can build a great relationship with them.
In case the product doesn’t seem to suit the person you have approached, your honesty can make the person refer your product or services to others. So with honesty, you will win maybe not immediately but eventually.
Relationship-based selling proves that:
In sales, even when the deal is closed, it is never the last deal. In fact, you can get ongoing deals by being in the good books of your customer.
Also, if you win the heart of someone who is not an immediate customer, there is always a chance of being rewarded in the long run with a referral. The tactic of relationship selling is indeed one that will deliver good results in the form of loyal customers if you do it the right way.