How do you build a stronger relationship with your best clients? What can you do to stand out from your peers when developing your best clients and customers? How do you get together with your clients’ stakeholders on a regular basis?
Everyone is talking about how social selling is changing the way we work with clients. Today, clients expect you to know about them personally. It’s the price of admission if you hope to build a great relationship. With all the great resources out there to find out information about people, you must understand who they are and what their agendas are.
However, if everyone is doing the same thing, how do you stand out from your selling peers? How can we develop deeper relationships with our best clients?
I’ve found these five ideas have allowed me to persuade and influence many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and leaders. Many have become long term clients. These ideas allow me to quickly build stronger relationships with clients who have regularly appeared on the Forbes 400 and INC 500 lists for over 30 years.
You may be amazed at how simple these ideas are. They have been tested and proven across many industries and markets by many of the most successful sales executives. Let’s see if they can help you become a stronger sales professional today.
The first idea is you must understand your clients’ strategic directions and the key challenges they face. How much do you really know about your clients’ business? How often do you discuss where they are going and what might stop them from getting there? Once people begin sharing their hopes and dreams, the better you become at creating unique solutions for your clients.
If you can demonstrate you know their business, you move into the top 5% of sales professionals. If you learn where your clients make their money, you are better prepared to help them grow. In this soft economy the closer you are to helping them make money, the better partnership you have.
The second idea is do you know how to define the role you can play with your clients. This means you must be able to share the impact your organization can have on their lives. Every client is unique, if you cannot share how your solutions can positively impact them immediately, you fail in building a lasting relationship with them. The more focused the impact, the better chance you have to connect with this client’s personal and professional agenda.
The third idea is you must help clients build and implement their plans. They must feel that you deliver on time and in budget if they choose to work with you. It is no longer just first impressions that count, but how you manage all aspects of working with them throughout your sales process.
From my experience, most senior leaders I talk with feel they could be significantly more successful if they could find the right partners and vendors who can help them translate their strategies into action. You must be able to demonstrate that you can get things done when working with a wide range of stakeholders both inside and outside the client’s organization.
The fourth idea is you must help clients align their short-term decisions and actions with their longer term goals. Today, leaders are overwhelmed with all the information they are exposed to. If you can help your clients set priorities, you always have a seat at their table. Eighty percent of my work with clients is to be a sounding board and help them set priorities for what they do. I help them concentrate on the 20% of their activities that give the best ROI on their time and resource investments.
The final idea is you must help clients become better planners. If you can help your clients become better planners, you have an increased impact on their organization. This also means that you must become better at managing your own time and efforts.
To help them become better planners, you must develop an increased knowledge of things like: human capital, organizational culture, systems, and emerging technologies. If you can help educate your clients in these areas, you stand out.
This also creates an opportunity for you to be more innovative in how you provide your clients a more complete solution. I see educating clients as one of the breakthrough capabilities for most extraordinary sales professionals. We will talk more about this skill in future blogs. See you next Thursday.