Why Today’s Sales Strategies Rely on Relationship-Building Skills

Let’s cut to the chase. What you really want, as a company leader or business owner, is more sales. You want to land more clients and boost your company revenue. And you’re looking for any real-life insights to improve your sales methods and bottom-line results. But you’re not interested in fluffy, do this-not that kind of general advice. There are companies out there, blasting through sales and conversions like the Hoover Dam burst on their revenue projections. You want to know what THEY’RE doing.

It’s no secret that today’s most successful sales teams rely heavily on their abilities to build relationships with their prospects and clients. Naturally, it makes sense for today’s business leaders to focus on improving their relationship-building techniques to then improve sales results. But there’s more to it, especially if you want to experience sales like that Hoover Dam bursting analogy.

Here’s why you should be focusing on the relationship-nurturing aspect of your sales process. And your teams need to embrace these relationship-based sales strategies to be successful.

What Is Relationship-Based Selling?Free Photo by Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

There’s sales; then there’s relationship selling. It’s a relatively newer concept, opposing traditional transactional selling, where the focus isn’t on the conversion or sale. Instead, relationship selling is about authentic connection and building trust. Once the trust is established between the buyer and seller, the transactional sales come naturally.

This technique exists to combat the emotional component of a consumer making a purchasing decision. So, even if your product or service satisfies all the needs and preferences but still seems unknown or inspires prospects to hesitate, you won’t convert them. However, when you build the trust component, you eliminate any “red flags” a customer might sense about your brand, offer, or company. And then, your product or service becomes a no-brainer decision.

Needs Selling

You’ve likely heard of needs selling, which is similar to consultative sales. With this relationship-building technique, your sales teams focus on the customers’ pain points. These engagements involve needs assessment conversations where you can learn what challenges your prospect is facing and what goals they have. Using their “needs,” your teams then present a solutions-driven option unique to the client and rooted in that trusted partnership experience.

Trust Selling

There are trust selling techniques to know, too. These sales strategies are more sensible for large ticket purchases. Smaller purchases with self-checkout methods aren’t going to require the same level of trust that a larger investment purchase, with potential risks to address. Trust-based sales focuses on demonstrating, not “selling” the solution. This is where you’ll share the results of others, demonstrate product effectiveness, and highlight the positive outcomes of your solution.

Why Relationship-Building in Business Matters

Today’s customers make purchasing decisions based on personalized problem-solving and customized experiences. Regardless of what you’re selling, you have to find a way to package your sales efforts into those two categories. When 86% of all consumers say their experiences are just as important as the service or product they intend to purchase, it signifies just how important the relationship really is.

Therein lies the big question most leaders face. With all the sales automations and technology in place, how can you be sure you’re cutting through the “template responses” and creating authentic connections with your prospects? How can you be creating relationship-based engagements and end-to-end solutions if your technology feels cookie-cutter?

Customer Relationships and Technology

You can actually have and master the best of both worlds – the firm relationship-driven connection and the seamless automations that streamline the sales process. And since most of today’s consumers are researching and making purchasing decisions online, that’s where you can begin your relationship-building connection.

Start with a Great-Fit CRM

Any great plan or well-executed sales strategy needs a nerve center. And the customer relations manager or CRM you choose can be just the hub or central command for all things client engagement related. Identify the best CRM platform for your business model and start developing methods for:

  • Using the CRM data to create customized client offers
  • Improve engagement with next-step and nurturing communications
  • Collect customer feedback to identify areas of improvement

If you’re not yet using a robust CRM solution, don’t wait another minute to invest in one. Like, now. Here’s why:

  • More than 65% of sales teams that use CRMs hit their quotas.
  • Roughly 74% of businesses are currently improving their customer relationships with CRMs.
  • The average ROI of a great-fit CRM will yield $8.71 for every dollar invested.

Customer Retention Strategies

Relationship selling isn’t just for new prospects and leads. It’s an ideal strategy for developing incredible retention strategies. Keep your best clients coming back. Those companies that can provide a “consistent” experience will be able to retain as many as 80% of their customers. Alternatively, those companies unable to create those lasting experiences will only retain roughly 33% of their customers.

A CRM can integrate everything, including SMS, social media, and email marketing platforms, into one convenient hub. So you can better manage customer experiences and communications more effectively. It’s this “omnichannel” experience that allows you to keep your best clients over time.

Brand Loyalty Strategies

Your CRM is also your primary tool for building relationships that support brand loyalty. When your audience learns to prefer or favor your brand over other available options, you’ve established brand loyalty. And once they’re loyal, they not only keep buying, but they’ll also refer your brand to others within their circles. The stronger the relationship you have, the more purchases you can expect. And recent consumer-facing studies suggest that 37% of people consider themselves “loyal customers” after they’ve purchased five times.

What Are the Real Benefits of Relationship Sales?

If you’re still not convinced that you might need to realign your sales strategies to be more relationship-focused, consider these key advantages. In today’s marketplace, regardless of your sales offering, relationships with your customers are the ONLY way to increase conversions.

Relationships Allow You to Anticipate Client Needs

When you build relationships with your prospects and clients, they’ll be more likely to reach out to you about new needs and preferences. It’s how you keep an eye on emerging buying trends and spot anticipated challenges.

Relationships Are Cushions When You Drop the Ball

Despite your best efforts, it’s a given that someone will drop the ball at some point. But if you have a strong relationship with your prospects and customers, minor hiccups in your process will easily be forgiven.

Relationships Lead to Great Referrals

When you build great experiences with your audience, they’ll be more likely to refer others to your services or products. And when your prospects have a relationship with your brand, they’ll be eager to convey their trust to others.

Relationships Provide Insights into the Competition

As your prospects and clients build trust with you, they’ll also be willing to share insights about other offers or competitive deals they encounter. And the more you know about what your competitors are doing, the more agile you can be about staying ahead.

Relationships Drive Long-Lasting Revenue

As previously mentioned, there are better results with customer retention when you develop a strong relationship with your clients. Forming authentic connections ensures every sale you make translates to a longer lifespan of additional sales.

Relationships Change Tough Clients to Brand Champions

Tough clients with demanding requirements are out there. Manage service delivery and expectations flawlessly when you build the relationships you need with them. It’s the trusted partnership that will transform even the most challenging clients into brand champions.

Executing the Relationship-Based Sale

So, what can you and your sales managers do right now to affect change with your sales strategies? How can you infuse your efforts with all the best relationship-building techniques?

The best sales strategies focus on them, not you.

Read that again. Because traditional sales methods focus on company quotas, goals, and revenue, they’re not going to be effective in the relationship method. To develop an authentic relationship with anyone, you’ll need to make it all about them. Here’s how you can do that effectively, one step at a time.

Keep track of personal details you uncover in your process, like client birthdays or special occasions that come up in conversation. Those details demonstrate your willingness to listen and your genuine care for them.

Learn about business and professional goals and use those as you further the relationship and in providing sales solutions.

Create customer contact points that do nothing more than touch base. If you only connect when you want something from them, they’ll recognize you prioritize the sale more than the partnership.

Share industry-relevant news with them and ask questions. This shows your interest in learning more about what they do, what they offer, and what they think.

Provide added-value insights, free resources, and tutorials. They’ll recognize your genuine interest in helping them, and you’ll effectively build more trust.

How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Relationship-Building efforts

You can measure a traditional sale pretty easily, right? So, how can your company effectively track and measure a “relationship?” When changing your sales strategy, you’ll need to also change your analytics. How you define success with a relationship-based sales method is going to be vastly different from the old-school sales quotas you’re used to tracking.

There’s ROI for those traditional methods, where you measure costs associated with sales tools and staff and revenue generated with direct sales. But there’s also ROR or return on relationship. This is a measurement technique that dives deeper into the insights and data and provides you with metrics that gauge how effective you are at developing relationships.

Bottom-line – ROI is about dollars and cents. ROR is about audience connection.

And yes, there is a way to measure relationships.

  • Calculate the number of clients who’ve purchased from in any given timeframe.
  • Calculate, of those clients, which have you helped again over the last 12 months.
  • Calculate from those you’ve helped how many came as referrals or repeat buyers.
  • Calculate by dividing the total number of clients you’ve helped over the last 12 months by the total number of repeat or referral clients.

If the ROR percentage is high, you’re doing well at building relationships. If it’s low, you’re missing big opportunities to increase sales and grow your business.

Tips for Infusing Your Sales Strategy with Relationship Selling

When you base your sales strategies on how many customers you help, not just how many sales you make, you can transform the focus to relationship-building. And then, you can look at every aspect of your marketing and sales to realign the goals there. For example:

  • Are your email campaigns helping customers or addressing their needs?
  • Are your company’s social media profiles offering valuable and engaging insights?
  • Is your content welcoming and insightful in a way that inspires interaction?
  • Do you actively listen to your customers and have quick response times?
  • Does your company offer free or value-added assets just because?

Imagine your sales teams and customer service staff all executing one common goal – to help the prospect or client. When everyone’s seeking new ways to be helpful, not just close deals, trust and loyalty become the pillars of your brand. And THAT is when the revenue pours in like a river.

Remember to:

  • Encourage personalization and customized engagements.
  • Establish the strong relationships before asking for the sale.
  • Be the solution and problem-solving partner.
  • Collaborate instead of sell.
  • Be an active listener and adapt accordingly.
  • Demonstrate your expertise and authority through helpful offerings.
  • Always be a giver, not a taker.
  • Center every engagement on them, not you.
  • Be transparent and honest about expectations and deliverables.

Whatever you’re selling or offering, today’s customers will only be buying if there’s trust, respect, and a relationship. Consider these insights to evaluate your current sales strategies and develop new roadmaps to increased sales success. Relationship selling is the key to landing more clients, boosting revenue, and scaling your business.

Don’t forget. Ghost Blog Writers is always here to help you implement any content-related relationship sales strategies! Our team of writers can execute engaging blogs, thought-leadership articles, white pages, social media campaigns, email marketing sequences, and more! Let us help you, so you can help your clients and start landing more!

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