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Sales – It’s how You Manage the Relationships from the Start

They say it’s all about who you know. Relationships are the foundation of sales and business. It’s also about what you do initially when you meet with ‘who you know’.  The first impression syndrome can strike if you do not have a plan. When this relates to sales, the plan is a process, and you need to understand all of the steps, from first encounter to the post sale.

It all starts with professionalism. When you create your marketing, it needs to be professional and informative. Any prospect who receives even an email should not feel like you are wasting their time. People’s business schedules are important and if you do not have something to offer that helps people solve problems then you may just be annoying people.

Understand your business and who would make potential clients. Create a customer profile, so you are contacting the right type of people who you know are pre-disposed to benefit from your service or product. Marketing to the wrong people wastes resources, money and time on both ends. 

The same goes for strategic partners. It is extremely important to develop the right relationships not only with customers but also strategic partners. These are the contacts that help you in business to find customers or even help to close the deal.

You need to have the right partners to continue to grow your business. They also can help to give business ideas, or even introduce you to more partners for future help. A simple example is a corporate attorney may need a good relationship with an accountant.

Now all relationships start with a conversation. A quick tip for attracting customers is to help them with a business need before you even try to sell them. This provides instant value and can set you aside from the competition. It can set you up as advisor for future business services as the need arises beyond that first sale.  

You can never lose sight of the buyers journey within your industry.  This is the process for how and when potential customers choose your service. There is a term in sales called the monkey’s paw. This is a small item you sell to a new customer without them having to make a big commitment. It may not cost much and if there is a time involved, it is short term.

Now your business may not make much of a profit off this sale, but it can establish the customer relationship. Now you have the opportunity to market bigger items. Now there’s an 80/20 rule for most things including sales. The best 20% of your customers generate 80% of your sales. It also applies to size of deals. So as you add more customers on small sales, the odds are a few will generate much bigger sales over time and repeat the process.

Now it goes without saying that if sales and relationships go together than you need to respect the relationships with customers and strategic partners. You should always think long term, so when you first meet a potential client understand that they could be with you for years.  If a business contact refers you to another contact, respect that relationship as if it was your own already. You now represent the contact that referred you, whether it was a client who referred you or a strategic partner.

Finally the post sale should be treated as a key step in the sale. Keeping customers happy is the way to keep them long term. Your new customer today is a competitor’s prospect tomorrow. Make sure you thank them for their business and make them feel special with each and every purchase.

Good luck with sales and marketing.





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