What is Relationship Selling? Account Based Selling 101

By Kevin Hurley in Sales

Post snapshot: What is relationship selling? How can you leverage relationship selling strategies to build 1-to-1 relationships with contacts are your target accounts.

Be honest: Does your marketing automation tool help you cut through the noise of today’s marketing environment and develop real relationships with your prospects?

Chances are you’re shaking your head as you read that, right? Marketing automation is only one of the tools in your toolkit that enable you to develop those relationships; it’s not the only thing.

But you know that those relationships are a key driver to your success as a sales pro and developing better relationship selling strategies in your organization can help ensure overall business success.

What is Relationship Selling? Account Based Selling 101
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What is Relationship Selling?

Let’s start with a relationship selling definition. Business Dictionary defines it as “The marketing process that involves having sales staff form well established associations with consumers in order to promote repeat purchases.”

Simply put, it’s the strategy that builds a relationship between the sales pro and a prospect and/or customer in order to drive repeat sales. Sure, it can help with that first sale, but where a successful relationship selling strategy shines is in repeat business.

 

Why is Relationship Selling Important for Sales Pros?

Regardless of your market or industry, you know that relationships are the key driver to your success, especially in the B2B world. B2B prospects and buyers are still people that want to talk to another person (that’s you) and the sales process goes more smoothly if they can depend on a reliable, sincere relationship with you and your brand.

 

Relationships Help You Standout in a Deal

B2B buyers are overwhelmed with the amount of information and content out there. So it can be hard for sales pros to stand out and be heard. That’s why relationships matter so much today. A relationship can help cut through everything and get your message heard the first time. Valuable and helpful information builds trust between you, so that you become the trusted advisor. When your prospect is ready to buy (either the first or tenth time), you’re the first sales pro they call.

 

5 Basics to Relationship Selling Success

5 Basics to #RelationshipSelling Success
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Start with a little homework about your audience. You always want to know what’s going on with your prospects — what keeps them up at night and what success means to them. It applies to prospects new to you and your business, but also existing customers you may want to upsell in the future.

Remember what’s in it for them. Sure, your prospects want to know the details about your products (the “what”), but they also want to know the “how” the products benefit them. That’s key for them. As a sales pro you already know this, however it bears repeating: your prospects and customers always want to know the benefits of your products and what’s in it for them.

Make your prospect look good. Since your B2B prospect is probably not the ultimate decision maker about whether to buy from you, it’s critical to nurture both the individual as well as their employer. You need to give them information that gets their individual attention, but then engages them enough to pass along your name and product info to the decision makers. Listen to what they’re talking about and how they’re talking about it. Then provide information that makes them look good to their boss. Or helps them overcome an obstacle in their daily working life. Or saves them a ton of time each month so they can get home on time to their family every day.

Make it all about them (for the most part). As I said before, when building and maintaining relationships you’ve got to forget about selling — but not entirely. You are a sales pro after all! However you should keep the focus of your communication on them, and only talk about yourself and your business sparingly. When you’re not obvious about selling to them and focus on simply developing a relationship with them, your prospect is happier to hear from you. They feel more in control of the sales conversation because they know you’re not just talking to them to sell. And if you provide them with enough helpful and valuable information, yours is the first name they remember when it’s time to create a shortlist of vendors.

Forget about selling. Yes, that’s right. When building and maintaining relationships, sales pros have to forget about selling for a while. Your prospects and customers will appreciate the useful information you give them every time you contact them because you’re not asking for anything in return. You’re simply introducing them to valuable information that will help them succeed. That’s it.

 

Is relationship selling part of your sales org?

Now it’s your turn. Are you using relationship selling as part of your sales strategy? Have your sales leaders made it a priority or is it something you’re using on your own?

Kevin Hurley
Director of Marketing