Vendor, preferred vendor and partner are three levels of relationships that sales people have with their customers. Unfortunately, most sales people have a “vendor” relationship. This means when the customer needs something, the sales person will more than likely submit a bid. The preferred vendor will already be on the bidding list and will receive an invitation to bid. The partner will make a recommendation to the buyer and provide the product without ever going to bid. Which type of relationship do you want with your customers and prospects?

Let me explain briefly how to become a partner with your customers and prospects. Here are a few simple rules:

  1. Build Rapport – People buy from people they believe, like and trust. You should be working on the relationship long before you become aware of their need. Sales people who just show up like vultures when they see a specific sales opportunity will never build the relationship necessary to gain the trust of the buyer.
  2. Learn their Business – The better you understand the total scope of the customer or prospect’s business, the better position you will be in to make accurate recommendations. When they know that you know their business you will gain their trust.
  3. Know their Needs – Ask probing questions to learn their needs. Be specific. Your objective should be to know more about their needs than they do. When you understand the situation you can solve their problems with authority and certainty.
  4. Offer Suggestions – Anticipate the customer or prospects needs. Through your experience working with similar customers, help them to meet needs and solve problems before they ever surface. Your knowledge, wisdom and experience will become a sought after tool in their daily work activities.
  5. Be There – Make yourself available to help. See them on a regular basis. Talk with them and consult with them about all aspects of their job. Listen, consult, recommend, and supply. Become a part of the decision making process.

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Copyright: The Business Performance Group, Inc.
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