Really, it's all about the relationships that you are able to acquire and nurture. It is these relationships that create opportunities to sell products and services.
For many people, this idea is really simple. But for some reason it gets messed up in the process of moving from a conceptual exercise to a practical exercise. In our personal lives, it really isn't all that difficult. We meet people and try to create a relationship with them, by talking to them and trying to understand them and their needs. Many times, all we really want to do is help them because we care about them.
But for some reason, this understanding gets totally mixed up in the business world. When we create relationships a business setting, we instead forget all that we have learned from our entire lives and instead move more toward a system of trying to get someone to "buy." What we do is to become selfish. Instead of trying to get to know the other person and what THEY want, people instead tend to move to trying to get what WE want, which is to "sell."
A true business relationship requires you to understand your customer - get to know their goals, wants, fears, needs and motivations. The only way to get to know these things is to become a five-year-old child again. Ask questions, lots of questions. Like a child, ask "why?" Ask it over and over until you really get to know your customer. They want to tell you their story.
Focus on Helping the Customer in Three key Ways
You want to turn your focus to helping the customer. Here are the three major ways that you can do that:
- Reduce your customer's risk. One of the biggest impediments to selling is your customer has certain fears. They fear that if they buy your product or service and it doesn't work out perfectly, or the timing isn't quite right, or anything else, that they will get punished for that mistake. It is your job to figure out what their fears are and then to eliminate them, or at least reduce them as much as possible. You want to make sure that the customer can be proud of purchasing from you. A good sign is that your customer does not stay up at night, but instead they sleep well as they are confident in your product.
- Enhance your Competitor's Business. Your customer, just like anybody else, really just wants to get ahead in life. So, if your service can make them look good to their boss as well as their peers (especially those at another company), then this will be seen as a way for them to get a leg up on their career. When that happens, you will find yourself at the negotiating table all the time.
- Get your Customer to Reach their Goals. If you are able to provide a solution to your customer's problem - whatever that is - then you will become their "go to" guy for nearly anything. If you can increase profit or decrease cost, especially at a reduced amount of work on their part, then you are simply irreplaceable.
By focusing on your customer's wants and needs, you can become a key part of their business. By reducing their risk, enhancing their business profile and helping them reach their goals, you will move from simply being a salesman into being a true partner.