Tuesday, June 23, 2009

7 Sins In Building Customer Relationships

In his latest e-newsletter, US marketing consultant Jim Meisenheimer says most salespeople overlook the fundamentals of establishing rapport and building relationships when they meet new prospects.

“Instead of reaching for your sales brochures,” he says, “try reaching out to your sales prospects by demonstrating your interest and curiosity about their business and their customers.”

Meisenheimer suggests you'll build sell more if you avoid these seven sins:

1. Selling too early. Use the first call to establish credibility and start building a relationship with your prospect.

2. Talking too much. Selling starts with listening, not talking.

3. Asking the wrong questions. Although most people know that open-ended questions are the best way tool for learning, Meisenheimer says most salespeople still lead with “closed” questions (e.g., who is your current supplier, what's your budget?).

4. Forgetting to do “the little things.” One of the quickest ways to grab a new prospect’s attention is to do little things for him or her (e.g., sending them a hand-written note or an “FYI” article of interest).

5. Talking to the wrong person. “The best advice I can give any sales person is to start at the top of an organization when you're trying to get your foot in the door. Most salespeople do just the opposite because they fear being rejected.”

“If you start talking to the wrong person, a person who is not a decision-maker, and you begin to build a relationship, it becomes extremely difficult to wiggle your way around this person to see the ultimate decision-maker.”

6. Defending your price. “You can never win the price war by defending the price… Always focus on the value of doing business with you and your company.”
(And it’s best if you can quantify that value in real dollars.)

7. Not having an attitude of gratitude. Never be too busy to say thank you (to the receptionist for getting you in to see the decision-maker, to new customers, to old customers, and to the customer-service rep for helping your customers).

Yes, most of know all this stuff. But it’s like flossing your teeth: a lot more difficult to do than to prescribe.
More from Jim at www.meisenheimer.com/

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