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Communication Coach: Don’t overlook the value of relationship selling

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(Photo: gustavofrazao / iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)
(Photo: gustavofrazao / iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images)

One of my longtime landscaping clients helped me understand the dynamics of relationship selling with a very simple question.

“What’s Next?” he asked after we walked through a recently completed project.

My response may not have been the most thoughtful, but it was honest. 

“What do you mean what’s next, we’re done,” I replied.

“You don’t get it, do you,” he asked.

“I guess not. Help me out,” I said.

My client reminded me that our relationship began with a vision. His goal was to create a showplace for his family to enjoy and for friends and neighbors too.

It was apparent that my limited mindset stood in the way of that vision. Rather than taking that vision to heart, I focused on the intermediate transactions leading to it. The distinction may seem minor, but not in the context of our relationship.

That experience dramatically altered my view of selling, and I hope it has the same impact on you. People want to buy because they have problems to solve and dreams to fulfill, but they will not move forward until they are confident in you.

Relationship selling principles build trust

You must know your audience’s challenges to answer their questions and solve their problems. Then inspire them to action so that they can enjoy the benefits of what your company sells.

People want to buy but there are obstacles that stand in the way of them trusting your business or any other. These principles of relationship selling will help you successfully win them over. 

  1. Business is now personal – Many people are reluctant to approach a business nowadays unless they have a relationship with a person in it. 
  2. People like to collaborate – When buyers are actively involved with your selling process, they become emotionally invested in the solutions they co-create.
  3. Building trust takes time – Every customer interaction is a stepping stone to answering the question: Why should I consider or stay in a relationship with this company?

Building trust takes time; it comes from being visible and active in the places where buyers hang out. That has traditionally been the local community, but now includes online communities where your marketing can answer questions and solve relevant problems.

  • Modern website – As the hub of your online presence, your website challenge is tilting its messaging and voice toward relationships first, then services.
  • Active social media – Familiarity builds trust, and active engagement with your social media channels can accomplish that in just a few minutes daily. 
  • Informative blog – Updating your blog with fresh and relevant content signals to Google that you have answers and a proven path to customer success. 
  • Informal newsletter – A conversational newsletter is ideal for cultivating relationships with your audience of current and prospective clients. Just encourage them to hit reply when they are ready to take the next step.
Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan is the owner of True Nature Marketing, a Naples, Fla.-based company helping entrepreneurs grow. Reach him at jeff@truenature.com. Jeff works with service companies that want to drive growth and enhance their brand experience with digital platforms.

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