Why Buy from You
Why do people do business with you? Have you thought about it? If not, this article is for you. If you have, this article will help to reinforce the principles already guiding your business.
What I want to focus on is our top clients, the ones we all want more of. These are the clients who are profitable, long-term, prompt payers and a pleasure to work with. But how do we get more of these clients? The answer is quite simple and is the same as it has always been. However, we have lost sight of the importance of the human being in the sales process.
So, what does this mean?
We must dedicate ourselves to having a complete focus on relationship sales. I know somebody is thinking, “Ryan, yes, but when exactly did that change?”
Let me unpack this a bit.
We have gotten lost in this and related industries regarding what we focus on and deem most important. We tend to operate with a more WIFM (What’s In It For Me) mindset. For example, as print service providers we have invested in our equipment, ways to make our product quality improve and produce things faster on our end. We may have even hired more people and trained them to know we offer much more than simply “traditional print and graphics.”
There is nothing wrong with this. However, we must change our focus, so it is ALL about our prospects/clients (external) rather than our own stuff (internal). In other words, our focus should be the call station WIFT (What’s In It For Them). Our goal for clients is to provide them value, make them sleep easier at night and take stress off of them. When such relationships exist (between the seller and buyer), price is not much of a factor and value is what matters.
Build Your Business on a Strong Foundation
True sales are built upon mutual trust between people in every part of the business. No matter what “product/good/service” you are selling, you are always selling yourself. This holds true no matter your title, level in the company, age or number of years at the company.
Are you seen (in the sales process) by your client as someone who provides value or someone who gets them “bids”? If you are only getting bids, then you are bringing very little value to the table and low-price is what matters in such cases. In contrast, someone selling value is seen as an interactive partner who sits “shoulder-to-shoulder” with their relationship-based client. Someone selling on price is viewed only as a transactional vendor — or an order taker.
How to Achieve Relationship Sales Success
Let us look at three things we must do to achieve success in relationship sales.
1. Actively listen to your customer.
We live in a constantly connected world. The amount of information at our fingertips is unprecedented. In fact, the amount of information has doubled in the past two years. This means we have more information demanding our attention than we can ever consume.
Do you ever hear others say things like: “I am drowning,” “I am slammed,” “I am buried,” or “I am swamped”? These types of expressions are often heard in our rapidly moving and changing world. Many of us live life like a piece of paper with no margins or a car that is revving its engine to the max.
My question is simple: how much is too much?
Our attention span was already limited and now thanks to the constant influx of information it is almost nonexistent. So, as we consider “what makes someone buy from you,” we must remember the fast-paced world in which we live. What is the solution? Slow down and take time to actively listen to our clients. We make them feel less hurried. We make them feel valued and take stress off of them. We develop, grow and maintain a strong relationship built on mutual trust with them. A relationship that helps them to slow down, smile and laugh. That is our goal in the sales process.
2. Take the time to get to know your customer.
We must also truly understand the other person at a deep level, or what I call an “under the iceberg” mindset. Do we understand their worldview? Their why? Nearly 90% of an iceberg is below the surface of the water and yet we zoom in on the visible part, the top 10%.
You may claim to understand another person, but have you actively, truly and totally listened to them? Can you list — beyond a job they are placing with you — what your client’s dreams are? What they are most proud of in their life? Can you name their most important personal and professional priorities?
If we do not know these things, how we can sell trust and develop relationships at the deepest level? The answer is we cannot. Hence, we must uncover the root values that drive each decision the client makes. A person’s “why/worldview” is the reason why they do what they do, choose what they choose and live how they live. And, in sales it means “why” they buy from a specific seller.
Many people are good at “somewhat listening” and nodding accordingly to show the other person they are paying attention. This not good enough. Unless we can completely understand another person, we will not have effective communications or a deep relationship. However, when we truly begin to communicate with others at the deepest level, we begin to achieve true sales success. This is how all strong relationships are established one day, week, month and year at a time.
3. Developing your personal brand.
The importance of our personal brand in relationship sales is of great importance. Our unique brand makes all the difference in our sales success. When a person does business with us, they are buying our brand. Thus, what we do with our brand is critically important. Our brand plays a key role in helping us gain the trust of potential clients. After all, our brand is not what we say it is, but what they say it is. In branding, perception to one person is reality to another.
Here is how I define the word “brand” as it relates to relationship sales:
• B = Baseline: The starting point used for comparison.
• R = Reputation: Everything we know or have learned about someone.
• A = Attributes: The adjectives and characteristics that we use to define a person.
• N = Name: Recalls positive, neutral or negative thoughts about a person.
• D = Distinctiveness: Describes the ways someone is different, unique and creative.
The innovative value, personality and service we provide is what our brand is about. It is directly related to the value that others feel when making a buying decision. Price alone doesn’t lead to value. Price is price.
Value = price + goods and services + YOU.
If we are not bringing value to the relationship, we are simply a price. And, as noted before, that is a no-win game.
The clients we want to build relationships with desire someone with a strong brand who has a fresh approach and cuts through the everyday noise. They want a person who makes their life easier and one who adds value. They are looking for a person who they completely trust and can develop a strong relationship with. This is how the most successful sales are completed.
No Shortcuts to Success
There is no shortcut to this quality sales process. Remember that you are selling “you” during every encounter and the success of your sales effort is dependent on your unique brand. Only you can be you. So, your only competition in building quality relationships with others is yourself.
Relationship sales can be broken into four key components:
P = Passion
A = Authenticity
C = Creativity
T = Trust
The key is to develop a PACT. Merriam-Webster defines a pact as “a formal agreement between two people or groups.”
Let us focus on the word “agreement.” A person buys from another person when they feel authentic passion fueled with creativity and built on trust.
Therefore, trust is built upon these key criteria.
When a person has tremendous passion, they have energy, dedication and enthusiasm in all that they do.
When a person is authentic, they are consistent and genuine in behavior no matter the circumstances.
When a person is creative, they approach life in a curious and innovative manner. They operate with an “as if” mindset. This means they operate “as if” something could be done or ask why it can’t be done. They find a way and never settle for less than the best.
Relationship sales is about finding creative, compelling and consistent information to share with another person, in this case, your client. Again, they live in a “constantly connected” and loud world. We must work hard to determine the other person’s “why/worldview,” so we can truly understand how they feel and what they want. And, we must remember the distinct value of our brand. It is our unique DNA. Remember, people can copy your ideas, but they cannot replicate you.
Finally, the key to relationship sales centers on developing a PACT with the other party built on mutual trust. This is what relationships are all about and will carry us through the ups and downs of business.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and start building and/or growing those relationships today.
Ryan T. Sauers has spent 25 years leading and/or consulting with printing, graphics, promotional, and visual communications related organizations. Ryan is President of the independent consulting firm, Sauers Consulting Strategies founded in 2010.
Key areas of focus of the firm include: sales training, marketing strategy, personal branding, leadership development, and organizational change.
Sauers is a frequent national speaker and columnist. He has been recognized as one of the top 80 CMO’s in the world and achieved the top designation of Certified Marketing Executive through Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Sauers is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and communication courses to current and aspiring leaders. Ryan is a Certified Myers Briggs, DiSC, and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (one of few in US to achieve all 3 rigorous certifications related to human communications, personality & behavior).
Ryan is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and hosts a radio show in Atlanta (Marketing Matters). Sauers is author of the best-selling books Everyone is in Sales and Would You Buy from You? More info at: RyanSauers.com