Collaboration and ComaraderieSure, we know that people do business with people that they “know, like, and trust.” Of course, we’ve heard and read over and over again that relationship selling is “where it’s at” in terms of creating and keeping clients. However, relationships go much further, much deeper, and much more impactful on our businesses than we may realize.

Relationships in the sales process

“Nothing happens without a sale.” But a sale doesn’t happen without a relationship… at least typically. My coach, Alex Livieratos of Business Power Coach introduced me to a powerfully effective sales strategy called READ. READ stands for:

  • Relate–develop a strong rapport with your prospect. Find some common ground, and build from there
  • Establish the need–using empathy, unearth what “pain” your prospect may be experiencing. Keep your ears open for opportunities for your company and for referral partners
  • Advance the solution–be creative, and, if you are able, with a servant’s heart, advise your prospect on what can be done. Sometimes, you and your company may not yet be able to help. However, if you can offer a path to take, you’ll be remembered as a much trusted advisor.
  • Determine the next step–Here is the real opportunity to be able to monetize your relationship. Whether you can help the person directly or not, ensure that you outline the follow-up. Contact the person again, find out how they are doing, and don’t be afraid to set up the expectation that you’d like to keep the relationship going, and that you may want to get to know others within your new friend’s network.

Relationships in the buying process

Using the READ formula when you are on the procurement side of the fence also comes in handy. Better relationships lead to better service, better deals, and, very often, to better referrals even from your vendors.

Relationships in the referral process

Like both of the above instances, your relationships are directly proportional to the amount of referral business you can generate. After all, no one (except your competition) will want to refer “bad prospects” to you. When there is a relationship, there is a genuine sense of community. Communities thrive when people look out for the best interests of the other community members.

Relationships in the joint-venture process

Finally, I’ve recently discovered that even if you aren’t currently sharing referrals, even if you don’t have a client-vendor relationship, and even if you have businesses that are polar opposites, there are opportunities to strategically align yourself with other companies. For instance, I’ve had the pleasure in the past of hosting events with other B2B businesses. Currently, I’m in the process of developing a very powerful series of webinars aimed to help small business owners and professionals leverage the internet, their personality, and their talents to better brand and market themselves in their local marketplace. Without the strategic partners I have who were gained by relationship building, this amazing opportunity would never have happened. Don’t discount those seemingly less obvious relationship-building opportunities… as we anticipate this venture will be a boon for all of our businesses, you may just find that your greatest wealth will be that you share with others.

Keep Moving Forward.