Let’s play a quick game.
Who’s your insurance agent? Your mechanic?
How about your doctor? Your gym instructor? Your air-cond repairman?
Chances are that if you can name any one (or all) of those individuals on that list, then you have a decent friendship going on with them as well.
More importantly, you’d also be going back to them regularly every time you’d want want to make a follow-up purchase (or service).
In many cases, you wouldn’t even have plans to change even if someone new comes along to offer a slightly better deal.
It of course boils down to trust.
As famous motivational guru Zig Ziglar says,
“If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.“
And that’s how they won you over, by gaining your trust in the way they treated you.
They viewed you as a friend whom they should support and help. As the friendship grew, the trust between you grew as well, and pretty soon a bond is formed.
It’s the same at work – you may find that THAT’S why more often than not you’d prefer to tell competitors to some of your current vendors that you’re happy with your current vendor – even if they may have been able to give you a better price!
How does this process work? What is is that builds such loyalty in you as a customer? How can you duplicate this with YOUR customers?
By building strong, sustained relationships. Relationships that make your customers think of you first whenever they need something.
This is called relationship selling, even though you’ll find that this sometimes does not involve selling at all. It’s about learning and understanding your customer’s situation.
Relationship selling is all about building a friendship or relationship and listening to the needs of the person you’re engaging with. Once you’ve built that relationship, shown you care, and earned their trust, you are on the road to making them a customer.
In relationship selling, high pressure is not typically part of the equation, simply because it’s hard to have a friendly relationship with a client who feels pressured by you.
In relationship selling, you become a form of support for your clients. Your services or products become something they depend on, and the more you can suit their needs and make their jobs easier, the better they will respond to additional sales offers.
You’ll also find that relationship selling benefits companies that offer products in very competitive markets – particularly if there isn’t a lot of difference between products!