A sometimes forgotten and under-utilized aspect of the sales cycle is the importance of relationship-building with our prospects and clients. This likely isn’t new information for many, but the global issues with supply chains have led a lot of us into the fray of cognitive dissonance regarding this crucial component.
Being the superior problem-solvers we humans are, let’s first identify the source: fear.
I recently had lunch with two project managers from a global construction company who were rolling out a new product that would be a game-changer for builders – a legitimate engineering breakthrough that would save time, and money, and make the structure stronger. I was sold immediately from their sales pitch (even though I personally have no use for it). Naturally, I had to ask how many of these they have sold. Their answer? None.
Digging a little deeper, I found out that they were not presenting it to their clients because the components are delayed by overseas shipping and logistical issues. Therefore, they decided not to pursue these prospects at all because they wouldn’t be able to deliver the product in a timely manner, avoiding them altogether.
I put the issue back on them to reiterate the opportunity they have to build out these relationships – regardless of product availability. I believe that this presents an opportunity to actually build a strong trusted advisor relationship. First, through good questioning and discovery, they have the opportunity to build rapport and to truly understand the core challenges the prospect is facing. Then, using that understanding, they might find they have a solution that actually works for the client, or, they may find the client’s timeline and the availability of the components for the new solution line-up. Either way, it is a win for both the seller and the buyer as they work to establish a stronger, trust-based relationship. When faced with similar challenges, we need to be using this “downtime” to be present with our prospects, build value around our offerings, and remain top of mind.
In the IMPACT Sales Process here at The Brooks Group, a frequent theme built into the methodology is the importance of building trust. We define trust in sales as when a customer believes that you are credible and reliable, and you place their best interests over your own during the sales process. Positioning ourselves this way and being present, even if we don’t have a current offering, can be crucial to establishing successful, long-term, and consistent clients.
We want our prospects and customers to think of us first when it comes time for them to decide. When they’re ready to buy, they will come to us. So, let’s get creative and cultivate these relationships so we can become strategic advisors and not product pushers.