Opinion: Has the ability to build strong professional relationships fallen?
Jane Donachy, head of WJD Chase, is a proven sales professional with over twenty years of experience in the industry. In this blog she questions the ability of modern professionals to build proper relationships.
It is interesting that many will argue that there is a whole generation of sales professionals even directors – that do not really know how to influence a client or customer. Many will note that numerous of todays sellers appear only interested in the transaction rather than building a strong relationship that may lead onto the sale and increased sales thereafter. These sellers fall at the first hurdle/barrier and rejection and dont interrogate why this could be.
They do not work hard to build a relationship and therefore engagement, and demonstrate poor listening skills which can lead a lack of understanding of what the client needs. They often also fail to convince their client of what is actually being offered.
There are many reasons cited for why this is the case. Some will say that often sales are now lead by procurement teams and therefore relationship selling is less important. Some will argue that the brand is more important than any relationship selling and that the brand will achieve the sale. Some will cite that relationships are simply less important in the modern world. Some will say that business is more intense and there is less of the clients time available
All are partially true but little in sales is more competitive than a good sales approach that is built off a trusting relationship and maybe this is the heart of the issue the skill of how to build a strong trusting relationship is part forgotten.
Stop for a moment and think about the last stranger to grab your attention. What was about them that caught your attention? I suspect it will lie in how they spoke, smiled or how they presented themselves. It is these most simple skills that have proven over decades to initially open the door and indeed to leave it open for further sales opportunities
Good selling is about building strong engagement and interest. Often sellers hide behind their brand to do the work for them when really what is most important is how the lead seller/Director behaves. Good sales is just as much about how one behaves as how the technical sales skills. If the customer does not want to engage, then however good the technical skills and offer may be the process is built on sand.
Of course the offer needs to be competitive but the sellers best skills are the natural resource they posses themselves their own character, their understanding of the client (it amazes how few research their clients before a meeting), how one presents themselves, just good common courtesy and last but not least the courtship.
Building great working relationships can be very rewarding and great fun. It is not a chore. It takes time and yes, it tests ones character but it is the best approach for long term good results.
So what do people need to consider?
How to present oneself
How to engage in an open and positive way
How to influence and win over clients
How to prepare for meetings
How to court a client
How to close
How to maintain the relationship regardless of the outcome
We work in a very competitive market. Sales growth will not just happen. It needs a skilful approach. It needs a team that want to engage the market and to influence clients.
Do you have a team that is able to do that well enough?
For more information please contact Nicole Thompson