It’s no secret that building lasting relationships that go beyond the boardroom and into our personal lives is what makes average sales professionals best in class. It’s not just about closing the deal anymore. It’s about being a valued and trusted business partner. And partners aren’t just friendly when doing business; they’re friends well past when invoices are paid.
We’ve all heard it a thousand times from colleagues, friends or acquaintances; “I met [insert name] years ago when I called on [insert business name].” “How did they build that relationship from business to personal?” In the past we’ve seen breakfast meetings prior to working hours build relationships, or maybe even a round of golf in the afternoon. But in today’s business landscape, if you’re a sales professional that wants to go next level, you’ve got to think outside the box to make a lasting connection with your clients.
Some focus on the relationship function of B2B or B2C. What might help shed some light on the subject is that it’s P2P (Person to Person). Regardless of why the customer is buying from you, it’s important to never lose sight of the fact that they’re a person, just like you or me.
Here are 5 ways effective sales professionals bond with clients:
1. Make your way to the inner circle. Maybe you’ve already built a relationship with your client past just having a LinkedIn connection and email exchanges. Let’s say you’ve befriended them on Facebook. You’ve successfully made your way to the inner circle with access to dig deeper to find their passion and hobbies. Don’t forget to check their Twitter, Pinterest or any other social media account for their favorite activities. If there’s common ground, use this information to build the relationship!
2. Find your happy place. Yoga is more popular now than ever. It seems that everyone does it or is interested in it to some degree. If you are into it, great! If not, that’s ok too. What’s important is that yoga may be a non-verbal way to connect with your client. Ask them to a class that’s convenient for them to attend to let them know you care about their health!
3. Get in touch with nature. While it’s not for everyone, fishing, camping or other outdoor activities like hiking might be right up your client’s alley. If you have a moral stance against hunting but know you’re client likes it, that’s ok. Keep your integrity intact by finding another way to connect. Maybe just being outside or getting away for a weekend in a national park would do the trick. Feel them out, and breathe in the fresh air!
4. Silence is golden! Another potentially non-verbal way to connect with a client is biking or running. Maybe your investigative work has led you to find that your client is involved in charity runs. Break out your running shoes and get to work. Nothing shows a client you’re relationship goes beyond transactions like getting involved in the organizations they care about most.
5. If it ain’t broke… The old adage still holds true today. Sometimes old reliable is there for a reason and if your client is a golf fanatic then stick with what works. Invite them out to a scramble you’re playing in, get lessons with them or just hit the range. Golf builds camaraderie and can bring out one’s competitive spirit. You will likely learn more about your client on the golf course than you ever could at breakfast.