When Speaking With Clients – Think Partnership by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC
No customer likes to feel they are the target of a pre-rehearsed sales pitch. Old-school sales methods that pressure or push a customer or client into making a purchase are no longer effective and drive away clients.
Sales professionals and business leaders who successfully retain clients and build their customer base are those putting in the effort to get to know their clients and build up trust, authority, and a sense of partnership rather than customer/sales traditional roles.
There are a few steps to consider when building partnerships with clients and customers. This is not done at the first meeting or even the fifth meeting; it is something that builds with time and in experiencing a positive relationship where the customer is treated with respect, valued for what they do, and provided with support, information, and assistance from the business.
Be Transparent and Open
If you were choosing a business partner, what would you want to know about them and what they bring to the table? Talking to your clients in a way that lets them know what you offer and how you can support them moving forward is a critical part of building trust, respect, and an open and honest foundation for a partnership.
This is also a way to understand their business and see if the partnership is a good match for you both. Having a small number of customers who value your services and products is better than having hundreds of social media contacts you never see, sell to, or have any interaction with on more than a sales level.
Starting a partnership by offering something of value to the customer creates a strong foundation. This something of value could be an idea, information from an authority source, insight into a common problem in the industry, or offering to assist in some way to help the business achieve a goal.
It is not about offering a sale or a discounted price. It is about providing value to the client or customer that is not about a win for you and your business.
Stay in Touch
Good partners talk on a regular basis, not just to make a sale every quarter. Staying in touch can be through occasional posts on social media, text messages, emails, phone calls, or in-person meetings.
The goal of staying in touch is to continue to foster partnership and trust. While sales discussions are a natural part of these interactions, they are not the central focus.
Finally, get to know the client’s big picture or long-term strategic goals. This allows you to provide the resources and support needed at critical times in the business, strengthening the relationship and the value of the partnership.