When it comes to your sales cycle the customer controls their sense of urgency of when they decide to purchase your products/services from you or your competitors. Our level of influence on their decision is directly proportional to the relationship you establish.  Relationships are built on three critical factors as you move the customer down the road to making a decision. They are face time, follow through and your motive. Let’s address how each of these plays a role in motivating the customer to making a decision in your favor.

It has always been obvious to me that the business I have won in the past was directly proportional to how much face time I had with the customer. The more opportunities that we have to meet indicates the customer’s interest in what we have to offer, in other words- they see value in meeting. How often have you hoped to win a piece of business where you only met the customer two or three times and deep down inside you knew your chances were a long shot? Customers will meet every time when there is a clear purpose and value in getting together. We earn the right to meet with the customer when our message is clear and concise and there is tangible value in our products and services. When we have a proven track record of how we have helped others- customers are interested. When our agenda is entirely focused on the customer’s needs and issues- they know it! It’s a positive sign when the customer is the one to initiate the next meeting.

Follow through is a huge indicator of character and credibility. These go hand in hand when customers evaluate whether or not you are a person they want to build a relationship and do business with. Follow through is about putting the customer’s priorities ahead of everything else and it becomes obvious to them. Follow through shows the customer what they can expect when they have committed to your products and services. It sets an expectation of how the relationship potentially will be moving forward. When you start delivering results beyond the customer’s expectations you have captured their undivided attention. Follow through is about being proactive on the customer’s behalf by doing what you think is important to them without even asking permission. The result is customer delight and enthusiasm.

The last critical factor significant to building strong customer relationships is your motive. What is it that motivates you to close business? Do you focus on the commission or the commitment to giving the customer what is in their best interest? I believe that if you are committed to solving the customer’s issues first and foremost the commission will follow. Customers are good at reading a sales person’s motives. They can see the facial expression and how the sales person responds to a delay in the sales cycle or a new objection that needs to be addressed. They can tell if the sales person is putting their concerns first or the customer’s.

About the author

Stu Schlackman

Stu has spent over 25 years in sales management, sales and sales training with…

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