Technology and communication advancement has opened the corridor to new markets, providing for a cost effective approach to expanding your customer base while building new relationships. As sales professionals we must understands the value of developing, building, maintaining, and growing relationships. An intangible value of a sales person is who he knows and how well he knows them. Credibility within the marketplace allows sales professionals to flourish. The best interest of the client and your company, the old win-win is still the best approach.

The World is Smaller than You Think

The distorted perception of an endless funnel of prospective clients has devalued the relationship building process, which is a pillar for success in this globalization era. Every interaction with a prospective contact must be leverage and converted into an asset component of an every growing network of contacts. “An opportunity lost is a contact gained!” Many sales people neglect the strategic component of contact relationship management, which prepares you for the initial communication with the prospective contact. Time is a valuable commodity that must be respected. If you are ill prepared, what value can you effectively present to a prospective contact? Burning your bridges early will effectively lead to low conversation rates and can tarnish your reputation in the marketplace. People deal with people, do your homework and build successful relationships. The world is smaller than you think!

A New Prospective on Contact Relationship Management

A customer centric approach to sales is fundamental in today’s marketplace. Generating revenue as well as expanding your network asset base, who you know, but not overlooking a common mistake, who knows you. The condition of the market changes constantly. A dormant contact can become a viable opportunity at any time. You may change companies where the product or service is now in demand by your network contacts. Have you left your mark? Will they call if the need arises? Every individual you build a relation with is a potential client, referrer, mentor or coach. Recognizing the unique value of every individual is important. Not every situation is convertible, don’t waste time where the return or potential of return is too low or non responsive. We still have a function to fulfill.

Strategic Contact Relationship Management

Many people think that the contact relationship process begins when you first communicate with the contact. This mindset is a common ailment among sales people, which also is one of the factors for low conversation rates for prospects into contacts. The popular dart technique adopted by many sales people, targeting a large market vertical with a replicated approach until they eventually hit a potential qualified opportunity, is an under productive and resource intensive methodology. Nonetheless, management in many companies still promote and measure the sales environment against the dart model philosophy, number of total outbound calls, calls per hour, down time in between calls just to mention a few. Professional corporate sales environments have become telemarketing call centers.

One of the top sources for information for management, even about what is happening in their own industry, is still Sales Professionals. Taking the time to understand your product, aligning business values, understanding the variation model for point-of-contact, identifying key players in opportunities, industry and prospect specific pain points, industry and prospect specific project priority ratings, contact and project specific win results, understanding ideal profile filtering, and the industry itself, just a few to wet your appetite. A key factor of differentiation between sales reps and sales professionals is knowledge. People respond well to those who have value to offer, regurgitating the same old sales pitch will irritate potential contacts and under value you as a professional and your offering.

Be prepared, do your homework, and position yourself as a valuable partner to your contacts rather than just another salesperson. Building relationships on value will result in a higher conversation rate of prospects into contacts of which the by product is higher sales. For this article I only have time just to brush the surface on the topic but will in future articles expand on each topic covered throughout the article.

Conceptual Contact Relationship Management

The conceptual contact relationship management phase encompasses the execution component of the process. As sales professionals, most of you are very familiar with this portion of the process. Every stage of the funnel provides an opportunity to further solidify your relationship and build common ground.

Life Cycle Contact Relationship Management

The strategic and conceptual phases of contact relation management are only components. The life cycle is perpetual. Following the sale, many sales people fall short in post-sales contact management. This phase may not have the immediate financial return but goes a long way in building relationships while securing against future competitive threats.

When executing a sale, you must remember that the contact has not only invested in your offering but in the relationship and you. Return the favor by taking the time to follow up after the sale to make sure that expectations of the client are being met. When you take the time to follow up without a sales motivation in the best interest of the client, you impact a very positive impression on the relationship. Learn to deal with people and not revenue sources. Develop, build, maintain, solidify and grow relationships!

About the author

Osman Baig

Osman Baig is a Senior Sales Executive, Blogger and Author (The Developmental Phases of…

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