RCT Blog


We hear so much today about “relationship selling,” and how important it is to establish a relationship of trust with your potential customer before you can expect them to buy.  But how do we do that?


“Relationships.”  We have them at home, we have them at work, we have them in our social circles, our organizational affiliations, and on and on – and many of us think we’re really great at building them.  So what kind of ”relationships” should we try to build with people we want to be our customers?    


Think about it.  We all know those people who can “work a room” full of strangers and create fascinating conversation with anyone.  We know others who approach relationships more quietly, confident that they’ll form through sincerity and courtesy and good work.  But really, even for those of us who think we’re good at building relationships ---- that’s not the point in relationship selling! 


Here’s the secret ---- it’s not about your traditional “skills” in building relationships.  It’s about your customer:  What kind of relationship does your potential customer want to have with you?   When you get that right, you’ll tailor your exchanges, in person or otherwise, to build the relationship that is valued by that person.


Listen for the clues when you first speak with or meet your target customer:

    • "I've got twenty minutes.  I'm open to what you want to show me, but we have to make it fast."

o   What kind of “relationship” does this person want to have with you?  Tailor your presentation to deliver that.  Show confidence, competence, and a couple of possible solutions with some very clear examples they can keep.  No chatter about the weekend, vacation plans, your pitiful golf game.  You’ll know quickly whether twenty minutes is really all they have – and if it is, don’t take it personally.  This person wants to walk away with an impression that you can really deliver what you’re saying you can do.  If you can give them exactly that, you’re on your way to building the relationship this person will value.



    • "Thanks for coming in!  First, do you have lunch plans after we meet?  There's a new place just around the corner I've been wanting to try – up for it?

o   What kind of “relationship” does this person want to have with you?  Who knows, at this point, but you know you have the gift of some time!  This person appears to value the social side of the business relationship, so be ready for that.  For some people, the ability to share non-business conversation is an important trust-builder.


“Relationship selling” is not the same as your skills in networking or making conversation to fill the empty space.  It’s about the kind of relationship your potential customer seems to value, and giving that to them.   


Actions: E-mail | Permalink |