Ways to Build Connection or Relationship with 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 reach out call, chances are you are not. Imagine a stranger calling you and telling you how great they are, how many others use their service and you can benefit at a discounted cost. Undoubtedly your next move is to hang up. 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. But how often is that happening?

Signing up for the technical sales courses in Toronto, Waterloo and Kitchener at K2 Performance Consulting can shift behavior and mindset and equip business professionals to have purposeful and valuable customer engagement.

Tips to building a connection:

  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 is expected of them and what is preventing them from exceeding those expectations. Frame your questions that they only apply to them. They will feel that you “get” what they are going through, 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 suggestions of examples, clarifications, impact keep people speaking freely and longer.
  2. Active Listening. Listening is one of the most commonly neglected aspects when it comes to building relationships with individuals. People just love to talk about themselves but as a salesperson, the more you allow your clients to open up, the more they will. According to Gong.io, we need to be talking 54% and listening 46%. Try this on your next call.
  3. Be authentic. This creates mutual trust, respect and openness between people. You should 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, emails with no value? Do you want the “touching base, “checking in” email? Be different, provide value that helps them in their business, educates them about their industry and prepares them for what is coming. Be on top of mind so when the timing is right, they will think of you. Be remembered in a positive way not as the relentless sales person who didn’t know when to stop.

These points demonstrate the importance of H2H, 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, you have just 7 seconds to make the first impression to compel them to engage and interact with you. 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”. This can be attributed to the fact that most salespeople tend to open the calls including cold calls, prospecting calls and follow-up calls alike – with statements that create resistance, instead of developing a connection.

Resistance is created by cliché openers that start with themselves, their produce and their 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….”, so on and so forth.

To build a solid relationship, you need to:

  1. Avoid cliché openers that you know your listener doesn’t want to hear, you will instantly increase your success rate by up to 20%. You want to 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, proposal and minimize the “I” words. The call is about them, not you. Hearing the “I” word may cause them to withdraw. Your clients are focused on what’s in it for them. Give them what they want right up front.
  3. Last but not the least never assume you can do something for them. The early stage of the call is to establish credibility. This helps your prospect buy in to the idea you can help them out. They may have a problem with what your product or service addresses- it is your job to convince them you are capable of doing just that. Asking pointed, detailed, questions about their specific business lets them know you are not an outsider looking in. This illustrates you do understand their business and more importantly the specific challenges related to it. Hearing from a complete stranger who they don’t yet trust or respect naturally builds resistance. Balance the softer words with the assumptive language and adjust your tone to engage your prospect.

For your customer to respond to you more positively, take a relaxed approach on the call and project a friendly and positive demeanor. Be well-prepared before a call so your message is fluid and clearly articulated not sounding contrived and robotic. Make your prospect smile, this applies to you 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 quicker.

Continue this process and make adjustment 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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