Does Your Sales Team Need to Build Better Client Relationships?
To win, protect, and expand major sales accounts, sales managers know that sales teams must build better client relationships. Strong client relationships are based on trust, communication, value-add, and accountability. All help customers to feel more secure and connected with you, your company, and the brand promise. In fact,
- A recent PWC study found that 73% of buyers point to customer experience as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
- NewVoiceMedia reports that 86% of customers who have an “emotional connection” with a brand are more likely to continue business in the future, recommend you to others, and spend more money.
But how to build better client relationships?
7 Steps to Build Better Client Relationships
Based upon feedback from business sales training participants, below are seven field-tested steps that can help solution sellers build successful client relationships and boost the chances for positive results.
- Exude Positive Confidence
Our microlearning experts point to a Carnegie-Mellon University study that found customers prefer to work with partners who display a high level of confidence. The more confident you appear the more likely people are to see you as a credible expert. That said, phony confidence is dangerous. Sophisticated buyers will quickly see past false bravado causing you to lose credibility and the sale.
To create confidence: do your pre-call sales planning, ask smart sales questions, share relevant insights, actively listen, and focus on helping your client to be successful. Your positive energy will energize and positively influence others.
Does your sales team have enough sales conviction?
- Develop Rapport and Intimacy
Rapport is the ability to make others feel comfortable with you. This starts at the beginning of each interaction with a smile, a greeting, and direct eye contact, as well as knowing their name, something about their business issues, and their organization and industry. Every interaction you have with the client is an opportunity to build rapport.
Here are some simple suggestions to create more intimacy with your clients:
— Be interested in what the client is saying or doing
— Solicit the client’s opinions and insights before recommending
— Avoid being judgmental
— Mirror and match body language, temperament, pace, dress, and speech patterns
— Find common ground and create shared experiences
— Be patient and wait for clients to finish talking before speaking
— Put your own ego on the back burner.
— Pay attention to their feelings and concerns
— Convey empathy, compassion, warmth, and understanding whenever possible
— Treat the client as a trusted collaborator
— Use active listening so the client feels fully heard
— Use positive affirmations.
— Use open-ended questions to elicit further information
Does your sales team know how to build rapport?
- Be Client-Centered
Being client-centered is putting the clients’ interests ahead of your desire to meet sales targets. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it creates trust. Trust is a warm, comfortable, and embracing feeling. It’s one of those genuinely instinctive feelings in life — we simply know when we trust someone and when we don’t.
To create a trusted advisor relationship with your clients be credible (know them and your stuff), be reliable (fulfill every agreed-upon or assumed promise), and be responsive (get back to them in a timely manner).
Is your sales team client centric enough?
- Communicate Openly
Sales reps with strong client relationships are able to freely convey their thoughts and ideas with their clients. Based upon trust, open communication improves collaboration and further enhances trust. Without clear and consistent communication it is almost impossible to truly help a client to succeed.
Is your sales team readily sharing information with their clients in a transparent, honest, consistent, and dependable way?
- Be Easy to Work With
Do your policies, procedures, and business practices make it easy for customers to get what they want, how they want it, and when they want it? Or is the way you do business internally focused and frustrating for clients?
Remember it only takes one negative experience for customers to leave your company and spread the bad word, whereas it takes up to nine positive experiences for anyone to even hear about it.
Is your sales team easy enough to do business with?
- Help Your Client Succeed
Clients hire people to help them get results. A results focus is sometimes lost in the shuffle of “doing the work.” Get specifics from your clients. If you truly understand what client success looks like, you will have a much better chance of helping your client win and get the desired results.
Is your sales team making a meaningful enough impact at your clients?
- Be Passionate
How passionate are you when you are with your clients? Are you upbeat and excited about what you do and working with them or do you carry the worries of the world on your shoulders? This principle cycles back to your attitude, but with a twist. When you are passionate, you are usually willing to share, collaborate, break through with new ideas, and provide the best you have to offer.
If you cannot bring yourself to be passionate about your work, it is a clear sign to clients that something is off. Clients are people too, and want to be with those who not only generate exciting ideas and results, but also who bring positivity into their often chaotic, pressured lives.
Is your sales team passionate enough about what they and the company do?
The Bottom Line
If, over time, some of these steps may have eroded, gotten rusty or forgotten, it’s time to shine them up again. Because without these steps as the foundation in client relationships, you will undermine your own success. Take a look in the mirror and see if you can rediscover some of these foundation principles, put them into action and enjoy the results.
To learn more about how to build better client relationships, download The Importance of Attitude in Sales Conviction – Do You Have It?