Let’s start with what it’s not. 

Relational selling is not being so nice to your prospect that they fall at your feet and beg you to buy your product.

There are very few things in life that are all “this” and none of “that”. Relational selling, from my perspective, is not all “How to Win Friends and Influence People“, and the salespeople with the best results are not all “The Challenger Sale“. The very best, those with sustained, consistent results, are both and. 

Relational selling means you work through the sales cycle while focusing on the needs of the person in front of the sale. 

When I first started in insurance sales in the early 90’s one of the other newbies in our group would always have more appointments than anyone else, by far. But over the following weeks he had no sales. What we found was that he was building lots of relationships but never adding value or asking for the sale. He didn’t last 90 days. 

The other extreme is the person who has several trial closes, asks for the sale 7 times, and won’t leave without a yes. He puts up great numbers early but those purchasers never answer his calls again. Congratulations you completed a transaction but you didn’t gain a client, or an advocate. Your number one source of new business is referrals from existing clients. If your focused on a transaction you are sacrificing a career for a sale and limiting the big picture. 

The best salespeople I have been around are very relational. They also believe strongly in their solution, care deeply about people, and are intentional about helping connect people with solutions. 

The Rain Group has studied over 700 B2B purchases from the buyers perspective and this is what they found:
Sales Winners:

  1. Connect
    • Sellers connect the dots between buyers’ needs and solutions they offer.
    • Sellers connect with people by listening to buyers and connecting with them personally.
  2. Convince
    • Sellers persuade buyers they will achieve worthwhile results.
    • Sellers minimize the perception of risk by demonstrating experience, building trust, and inspiring confidence.
    • Sellers persuade buyers they are the best choice.
  3. Collaborate
    • Sellers collaborate with buyers by being proactive and responsive.
    • Sellers educate buyers with new ideas and perspectives.

Sounds like relational selling to me.
Run the play (the sales cycle) and care about the person in front of the sale.

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Gary Trobee is a certified coach and a seasoned leader with over 20 years’ experience mentoring, coaching, and encouraging leaders and their teams.

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