Business deals, especially in B2B markets, are the result of relationships between people. Prospects have to trust the business development specialists on a level that surpasses how much they trust the represented companies. Good representatives know how to strengthen that trust by building and maintaining long-term relationships and taking a personal interest in their clients, not just their business. Since clients benefit from a deeper level of understanding, the relationship becomes mutually beneficial.
Sometimes, however, business development specialists focus so heavily on building rapport that they lose sight of their agenda. They want to make their prospects or clients feel comfortable, but overlook opportunities to close the sale. Here are some tips on how you can balance the personal and business sides of the sales equation.
Don’t be shady. Some self-serving salespeople engage in underhanded tactics to trick prospects into becoming clients. These are the salespeople who won’t take no for an answer, or who use disingenuous tactics to get prospects to call them back. This behavior is untrustworthy and sabotages any chance of a long-term relationship. Even if you trick a prospect into one sale, they will realize what you did: sacrifice long-term business for short-term gain.
Sell your perspective. Marketing communications are vital to every business, but I’ve heard a lot of reasons why prospects think differently. As an outsider, it’s my duty to paint a bigger picture for them so that they can see how marketing initiatives can play an active role in improving their businesses. Take time to listen to your prospects concerns, ideas and goals, then show them how your business can support their individual needs. An educated, outside perspective can help prospects, but only if they can see its worth.
Work together. Pandering or being a yes man does the prospect a disservice. Work with your prospects to identify solutions that meet their available time and financial resources. Make sure that you present all the available solutions, including your recommendations, so that they can make the right decisions to meet their short- and long-term goals. When they’re ready to move on to another step or find a new need, they’ll look to you, a trusted partner, for a solution. Together, you’ll find ways to sustain a lasting relationship that helps both businesses grow.