26 March 2015
How to turn a client relationship into a special partnership?
In business, there is arguably nothing more sensitive or delicate than trying to nurture an existing client relationship. How you carry yourself at key moments can define whether you maximise a relationship to its full potential or settle for a half-measured, self-congratulatory sale.
Any client-facing professional, when attempting to sell their services across all levels, strives to secure that special partnership that ultimately leads to their being their client’s go-to resource.
Whilst the usual qualities – tenacity, transparency, market-knowledge etc are simply a given, there are a few techniques that can make you stand out among your competitors.
By “being wacky,” I don’t mean turning up to client meetings with a Bond-villain moustache.
Movember without limits
Rather how would you feel if you picked up the phone to the same recycled tripe on a day-to-day basis? Instead of “I have a great deal for you” or “this is something that you need to consider”, I would take something topical or relevant from previous conversations and immediately bring it in at first instance. England losing to Ireland over the weekend in the Six Nations recently is a case in point. After a client asks me “how’s it going” I would most likely respond along the lines of “still recovering from the traumatic defeat to the Irish on Sunday!”
There is literally no metric to conversation-starters and it more often than not puts your client at ease if you don’t go straight into the buy-my-product-jargon. In my experience, the more bizarre the better – retelling my rap melody on BBC’s Bargain Hunt directly led to a sale – but try and stay within the lines of relevance (or they may think you’re completely insane!).
Every day clients receive hundreds of emails from spread-betting sales folk trying to strike it lucky. How much more personal and interesting would you come across if instead of just proving that you are an expert at your particular product field, that you are also for example a provider of Mexican Chocolate Chili Recipes?!
I am available for dinner parties…
Be that guy armed with golden nuggets of information and clients will digest your email over their morning coffee, afternoon tea or evening tipple. Eventual buying clients have told me that I had left an imprint on them due to my separation from the common heard – don’t always talk business! You can buy X from anyone but it’s the relationship that counts etc etc etc
It is challenging enough to identify the relevant individuals within organisations to conduct business without failing to give yourself best chance to be successful at a long-term partnership. By following these suggested methods I am confident that you will see an upturn in client dialogue and ultimately commercial transactions.
If you would like to know further techniques (we wouldn’t want our competition to know all our methods!) then please feel free to get in touch and I would be delighted to share some further ideas.
Written by Lech Sikorski, Sales Manager