Ductwork shouldn’t be your top priority—relationships should. Whether you’re selling woodworking machines, aircraft parts, or ductwork, we know that relationship selling gets you further, faster.
Here are 7 strategies that separate the best from the rest when it comes to relationship management as a salesperson:
1. Have a Daily Routine
Calls, calls, calls. The best salespeople are the ones who are consistently calling on prospects, no matter how much is on their plate. Going on “call binges,” where you dial strong and steady until you get “too busy” and stop until you run out of business is not a strategy for success. Rather, have a daily routine that includes making a certain number of calls each day to keep business flowing and prevent your pipeline from running dry.
2. Do Your Homework
Before thinking about reaching out to a lead, it’s important to learn about them. You can often grab the end of an email address and link over to their company’s website. If not, LinkedIn and even Instagram are great places to start. Take a look at their company’s “About” page to understand what they do, their values, and what you can offer to make their job easier. This understanding will help build a framework for your initial conversation with them.
3. Prepare Your Voicemails
The last thing you want when trying to get someone to call you back is to flounder over your voicemail. We recommend trying out two approaches to see what works best for you.
- The curiosity approach: Let them know you’re interested in learning more about their work. This will require a little more work and explanation when they return your call, but hopefully, you will have piqued their interest enough to get the call back.
- The short, succinct, and specified approach: Leave a very brief message as to why you called. Share your name, company, what stood out about their company, and that you’d like to speak more with them about it. They’ll have enough context to know whether or not they want to call you back.
Whichever approach you choose, make it easy on yourself by practicing several times and keeping your phone number on a piece of paper in front of you.
4. Impress the Gatekeeper
One of the hardest parts of solidifying a new lead can be getting past the “gatekeeper,” or the person responsible for making sure the callers they pass through won’t waste your prospect’s time. Establishing credibility and good intent from the beginning is often half the battle.
5. Ask, Don’t Tell.
No one wants a sales pitch shoved down their throats. The best salespeople are the ones who ask questions to get to know the prospect and open the door for a two-way relationship. Ask questions about them and what they do, and fully listen as they answer. The better you listen and understand their business, the better you’re able to offer solutions that are the right fit.
6. Be Human
There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re talking to a robot. Be sure to kick the conversation off with some questions that are more genuine and personal, such as asking about the weather, or a major event that may have happened in their area. It shows that you’re willing to spend time investing in the relationship. Once they’ve opened up, get them talking about their business, and be sure to restate some of it back to them so they know you’re listening.
Remember: You’re not trying to steal their loyalty from somewhere else — you want to earn it. That comes with impressing them with who you are, what you can do, and the service you can provide.
7. More Follow Throughs, Less Fall Throughs
This is where the ball is most commonly dropped. Have an email ready before you make the call, so that you can promptly edit to:
- Thank them for their time.
- Hone in on one specific point you talked about (even if you covered five or six, try to keep it to one and pocket the others for later).
- Let them know you appreciated the conversation and reiterate the service you think you can provide to assist their business.
Continue to nurture the relationship by staying tuned in to their LinkedIn and don’t be afraid to comment on things like milestone posts. You want them to know you care about their business and find ways to prevent your name from being forgotten.