Consumer buying habits have changed a lot in the last decade. While consumers were once at the mercy of salespeople and glossy brochures, they’re now firmly in the driver’s seat and they’re dictating the sales process.
Modern consumers are informed, savvy, and capable of finding the right products and services to meet their own needs. It’s no wonder that 89 percent of B2B sales strategists feel that buyers are the ones in control.
But, the rise of the independent consumer doesn’t mean that relationship selling is dead. On the contrary, relationship selling is actually the secret to selling more – especially if you’re selling high-valued products and services. Here’s why.
Buyers still want and need to engage with salespeople
There are a few reasons why relationship selling is still important, but it all comes down to two simple facts: most buyers can’t find all the information they need to make a purchase online, and people are generally more likely to make a big purchase with someone they know and trust.
- While consumers are ‘massively’ more informed compared to ten years ago, they’re likely missing crucial information that only a salesperson can provide.
- 60 percent of buyers want to meet with a salesperson during the consideration phase – after they’ve done their own research and need more information.
- Research shows that 74 percent of buyers do business with the sales rep that was first to add value and insight.
Bottom line: consumers will do business with people who can give them what they need, answer their questions and add real value. They don’t want a hard sell. They want a relationship.
How to become a relationship seller
There’s no single, fool-proof way to ‘be’ a relationship seller. How you build your relationships with your clients depends on who they are, and how they like to be ‘sold’ to. Some people like to have frank and straightforward conversations about price; others prefer to read articles, review case studies or sign-up for free trials first. Everyone is different. This is why customer relationship management (CRM) is important.
There are, however, a few ‘core’ things every successful relationship seller does.
1. Add value
Relationship sellers don’t indiscriminately shill their products and services. They establish credibility and earn trust by reaching out to prospects with suggestions or advice, introducing them to people who may be able to help them, or by simply doing something that’s genuinely useful.
2. Listen and learn
The best relationship sellers are like sponges: they soak up every bit of information about a potential buyer they can. Then they use this information to gauge whether they’re in a position to actually help the buyer, and whether the buyer has the resources (both time and money) to accept that help.
Relationship selling is as much about finding the right customers as it is about driving more sales; you’ll never turn someone into a brand evangelist if your products and services aren’t a good fit for them.
3. Make relevant recommendations
A good relationship seller will recommend products and services that actually align with their buyer’s needs and solve their key problems. You want to demonstrate that you understand your buyer’s challenges and their needs, not that you have a sales target to meet before the end of the quarter.
Resist the temptation to cross-sell or up-sell products and services that don’t make sense for your buyer. Relationship selling is all about the long term. Keep that in mind and use a CRM system to keep track of opportunities to increase the value of a customer once they’ve made their first purchase.
4. Continue adding value
Relationship sellers don’t fall off a customer’s radar after they’ve made their purchase. They regularly check in, interact on social media, share more helpful information and generally make themselves available. That’s why it’s called relationship selling.
Keep in touch with your customers and make sure they know you’re still there, willing and able to help them whenever they need you. You’ll continue building trust that way, effectively laying the groundwork for future sales wins.
5. Use Dynamics 365 CRM
There are any number of CRM tools out there for businesses to use, but Microsoft Dynamics CRM is just a little bit special. Here’s why:
- You can engage on a personal level. Your customers are unique, and they deserve to be treated as such. With Dynamics CRM, you can connect with the right buyers at the right time to deliver exactly what they need.
- You can see every interaction. To help your customers, first you must know what they need. Fortunately, Dynamics CRM tracks customer interactions so you can see what they’ve looked at and what they’ve asked about, equipping you with all the knowledge you need to help them.
- You can access embedded intelligence. Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what your customers will want before they even know it themselves? With the embedded intelligence within Dynamics CRM, you can see recommendations and guidance for every step of a customer’s journey, so you can deliver just what they need.
Want to sell more? Start building those relationships
There’s a reason why companies like Microsoft are all about relationship selling. It works.
- It’s easier to sell high-value products and services to people who trust you.
- You can cross-sell and up-sell more effectively when customers are sure you know their business and their needs.
- You can increase the value of a customer in the long term if you’ve established a relationship with them.
Stop wasting time chasing the wrong leads with sales pitches that aren’t personalised. Get a CRM system and start relationship selling today.