Three Ways to Connect with Your Clients

Have you ever thought about where you stand with one or more of your clients? How effective are you at building connections with potential clients? Are you delivering value? Helping them achieve their goals? Solving their problems? Are you even getting to the point of showcasing how your product/service can help your client? If you are not engaging them first thing on your initial outreach, chances are you are not.

Imagine a stranger calling you and telling you how great they are, how many others use their service and how you can benefit at a discounted cost. Undoubtedly your next move is to hang up or walk away. But what if someone described your challenge and pain better than you could and showed how the impact is affecting you, your team and your overall business?

Chances are you would let them finish. Why? Because they are different. They are showing you something you are unaware of or teaching you more about your situation and what could happen if left unsolved. But how often is that happening?

The most common challenge with buyers is that sales reps don’t understand their needs. How can we change this?

See my 3 Tips to Connect with Your Clients

  1. Ask insightful questions. Not vague questions that can easily be answered by looking at someone’s website. Do some research on their company and industry. Talk to people in similar roles and really get to understand what motivates them, influences them, is expected of them, and what is preventing them from exceeding those expectations. Frame your questions so that they only apply to them. They will feel that you “get” what they are going through and, you are establishing credibility and common ground. Balance out your questions throughout the call, most reps front-load their questions and the second part of the call falls flat. Balanced questioning with examples, clarifications, and impact keeps people speaking freely and longer. Create a 2-way conversation focused on them.
  2. Practice Active Listening. Listening is one of the most commonly neglected aspects when it comes to building relationships with individuals. People love to talk about themselves but as a salesperson, the more you allow your clients to open up, the more they will. According to, we need to be talking 54% and listening 46%. Try this on your next call. To further invite them to speak, add mirroring and labelling, another way for them to add more detail, and expand on what they are already sharing.
  3. Be authentic. This creates mutual trust, respect and openness between people. It also highlights your uniqueness. 80% of buyers don’t see the difference in companies, how can you stand out, and be different? Leverage your authenticity. Be genuine and empathetic in your approach. Do the things you would like to experience as a prospect. Do you want to receive daily voicemails or emails with no value? Do you want the “touching base, “checking in” email? Be different, provide value that helps them in their business, educate them about their industry and prepare them for what is coming. Stay top of mind so when the timing is right, they will think of you. Be remembered in a positive way.

These points demonstrate the importance of H2H and human-to-human connections. Business professionals and sellers tend to be all business and “head” focused. Add some “heart” and watch how the dynamics and energy change for the better. A real and genuine connection between two people can’t be substituted with anything else.

As a salesperson, we have 7 seconds to make a first impression. Compel them to engage and interact with you. The majority of salespeople leave their prospects feeling more like “Ahhh, it’s a salesperson, how do I get them off the phone,” and less like “wow, this is interesting, I would like to stay and listen”. To avoid this stay clear of opening cold calls, and meetings – with statements that create resistance and are seller-focused. From the beginning, be intentional with the other person and start developing a connection.

Resistance is created by cliché openers that are all about us, our product, company. “How are you today?”, “Is it a good time to talk?”, “Are you the person in charge of….?”, etc. Then carries on with “I”-focused statements like “I’m calling because….”, “I’ve been told that….”, “I’ll only take a minute of your time”, “I would like to tell you about my product” etc. Finally finishing with statements like “I have a product that can save you money”, “Are you looking for ways to become more profitable?”, “We can improve your….”, and so on and so forth.

To build a solid relationship, we need to:

  1. Lead with value. Avoid cliché openers, that scream sale calls and instantly increase your success rate by up to 20%. How can we sound different? more interesting, more professional – and more relevant. When a prospect/client feels like they’re being held hostage in a conversation, they tune out, stop listening and start planning their escape. When the call becomes more conversational and both parties are speaking, they’re more likely to continue, open up and participate in the discussion.
  2. Look at your call script, email, and proposal and minimize the “I” words. The call is about them, not you. Hearing the “I” word may cause them to withdraw. Our clients are focused on what’s in it for them. Give them what they want right up front.
  3. Last but not least never assume we can do something for them. The early stage of the call is to establish credibility. This helps our prospect buy into the idea we can help them out. They may have a problem our product or service addresses- it is our job to demonstrate our capability in doing just that if we can. Asking pointed, detailed, questions about their specific business lets them know we are not an outsider looking in, focusing on the current state, and how they are getting the job done today. This illustrates we do understand their business and more importantly, the specific challenges related to it. Hearing from a stranger whom they don’t yet trust or respect naturally builds resistance. Balance the softer words with non-assumptive language and adjust our tone to engage our prospects. I “might” be able to help...

For our prospects to respond to us more positively, take a relaxed approach on the call and project a friendly and positive demeanour. Be well-prepared before a call so our message is fluid and clearly articulated not sounding contrived and robotic. Make our prospect smile, this applies to us as well. Smiling through the call helps convey your energy and warmth. Better yet, suggest a video call and let your real personality shine through and build connections quickly.

Continue this process and make adjustments with each call. Over a period of time, your cold call reluctance will soon be replaced by a string of successes.

About Karen Kelly

For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.

Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools  that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.

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There are so many areas of business out of our control, yet we continue to invest in them and hope for a different outcome. What about your people? You have control over them and their development pathway. The ability to build a positive learning culture, improve their level of confidence and increase bottom line revenue.
Invest in them. Hone their sales skills to  attract your most ideal clients, gain the required commitments through  discovery, engage authentically  and create an enjoyable repeatable experience for your clients.
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