Your Last Conversation is the Relationship (Part II)
She was 18; he was 19. They were high school sweethearts. Mom and Dad were married 49 years. Dad always told me “A solid relationship is not a 50/50 deal, it's actually 100/100.” He said, "If you want a strong relationship – one that will last, you have to give 100% no matter what you think you're getting in return.”
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
You've been to your fair share of sales seminars. Most focus on prospecting, new business development, doing a customer needs analysis and making the presentation. What's missing is the key ingredient that MUST be in place before ANY of that other stuff matters – the relationship.
Training usually assumes people already know about the basic building blocks of relationship development and how to successfully use those skills.
Author Betsy Rozelle in her book, Seeking Common Bonds, shares three critical steps to a successful relationship with a prospect or client that are very basic, but crucial:
CARE about people. “Thank you, Captain Obvious.” The term “care” is trite, but unless you truly care about your prospects and clients as people, you won’t last long in a sales career.
USE FIRST AND LAST NAMES. When you introduce yourself to others, always make strong eye contact, along with a firm handshake and give your first and last name. If the person you’re meeting gives you only his/her first name, be sure to ask what the last name is. It seems counter-intuitive, but when you disclose only your first name and accept only their first name, you’re de-personalizing yourselves at the initial meeting. I’m Jeff Schmidt... not Jeff Jones, Jeff Hulvey, etc. In almost every case, the last names you share will spark some recognition. Seize upon the opportunity to find commonalities right from the start. Ask a specific question about their name.
SEEK AND TELL STORIES. Another way to show you care about your prospects/clients is to first engage them in a conversation about their background, interests and experiences.
To cultivate communities of clients for long-term success, start with the relationship. Find and build affinity, care about their problems, offer valuable solutions and you’ll gain not only a client, but also a friend for life.
Tomorrow, seven best practices for developing relationships.
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.