Maintaining Customer Contact
Part of relationship selling involves maintaining regular contact. If you neglect a client who has trust in your integrity as a person and as a salesperson, that client may finally be forced to turn to your competitor. (Who has probably been calling regularly to get their business.) So, make sure you not only build the relationship, but keep regular contact and keep all channels of communication open. Make available several methods of contact for any type of emergency need. Or you may find that, in an emergency, your client was forced to contact that persistent competitor and discovered that, "Hey, he/she's a nice person too! And their product is maybe even a little better! Hmmmm!" So, the lesson is, make sure you maintain contact and are always accessible to your clients, or you may find yourself having to replace them!
An important part of relationship selling is also having the technology available to manage and maintain those relationships. That often comes in the form of contact management software or a good Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. We'll talk about that a little later in this article.
A new sales technique that has recently surfaced involves spending significant sales time only with those prospects who offer the highest probability of a sale. Arriving at that determination involves asking pointed questions and letting the prospect do the majority of the talking. The approach is to focus only on prospects who need your product, want you product, and can afford your product. Rather than using the effort trying to turn a low probability prospect into a high probability prospect, you focus your efforts entirely on the high probability group.
Determining who is high probability is done through a series of questions that require positive answers. If at any point, you don't get the answer you need, you end the meeting, thank the person, and leave. You don't waste your time and/or your proposal department's time on putting together a proposal that you know won't be accepted. Now, just because the prospect states that they are not interested, doesn't mean you pack your bags and leave. If they've answered all other questions with the right answers then you can continue the line of questioning until you determine without doubt that they will buy. This means you never ask for the order. If you've done the questioning (interview) session right then when it is completed you and the prospect have come to a meeting of the minds and the logical next step is that they will place an order. Your series of questions has eliminated any objections (or else you have already said goodbye and left!).
Rather than trying to manipulate the prospect and get them to do something they don't want to do, you are letting them come to the decision that it is the right thing to do. You are laying the foundation for a mutually beneficial basis for doing business.
There is a lot more to be learned about high probability selling, as well as the many other sales techniques out there. Let's talk about some of the basic techniques, tips, sales styles, and closing sales.