Cultivating lasting, authentic business relationships is integral to success in sales. Sales methods keep evolving, but genuine sales relationships and their upkeep will always be timeless and critical. By nature, establishing steadfast customers takes time and experience; but there are ways to improve your chances of preserving current sales relationships, while also helping to attract new ones.
When it comes to sales, money is usually the bottom line. Even your best friend is likely to go with the competitor if the price is right. It's important to remember that enduring sales partnerships involve giving and taking in a way that satisfies both sides. Knowing when to compromise is the key to retaining important clients and loyal customers. Sometimes losing out on one deal is worth the big picture profit potential. You also need to realize when to put your foot down. Once you have found a balance that works for both parties, you can anticipate a successful future.
As the person who is usually going to be the one pushing for sales, it's up to you to be proactive in the business relationship. If the only time the other person hears from you is once a month when you check to see if an order needs to be replenished, it's going to be a lot easier for them to forget about your sales partnership when a competitor's sales representative offers a lower price.
Of course, staying familiar without being pushy requires a level of professionalism and finesse. After all, nobody wants to dodge the sales rep who calls every other day. These days, social media is a great way to stay in touch without being overbearing. Just commenting on a vacation photo or passing along an interesting article is an effective way to plant a seed that grows into a lasting bond. Make sure that you understand the boundaries in a business relationship, while still relating to your loyal customers or clients on a personal level.
Finally, try not to spread yourself too thin. Don't add a few hundred friends to your social media accounts in one evening. Don't cancel meetings or end phone calls abruptly. Your clients and customers should always feel like you have an endless amount of time for them. An authentic business relationship won't flourish unless your customer feels like more than another nameless face. Forbes notes that maintaining current sales partnerships actually tends to be more profitable than gaining new ones, so make sure that any new business is not getting in the way of old standbys.
There is no single formula for building and maintaining successful business relationships. Each individual requires a unique approach. However, at the end of the day, the core of good business is treating people with respect, courtesy and sincerity. Undervaluing a mutually beneficial business relationship is a quick way to lose profit on a grand scale. After all, word travels fast in the world of sales.
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