It’s no secret people do business with people they like. We also know people don’t like being sold to but they do enjoy buying things. What does that mean for you – the person who has a product to sell? It means people must like you and not feel pressured to buy. I know the tension between the need to sell more and the need to build relationships can be tense but I have a tip for you.
Draw the line between your sales pitch and relationship building.
Here is what I mean. Say you send an email that begins with:
Hi Mr. Customer,
I hope your day is going well. I was just thinking about you because I drove up to the mountain yesterday and remembered you started a snowboarding school. I was wondering how that was going. I also wanted to…
(Now here is where you can draw the line.)
I also wanted to see if you’d be interested in a free commercial insurance quote for your snowboard school?
(Or you could have said…)
I also wanted to let you know I stumbled upon this cool article about a guy who started a snowboard school last year and made a killing at it! I thought you’d enjoy it.
Obviously the first example is an email that failed to draw the line. They just could not resist the urge to solicit something. And besides, selling is all about the law of large numbers, right? The more you ask the more you get.
Well that may be true. But it’s also true that the way customers buy has changed. Today people have more options than ever and less attention to give to salespeople and marketing messages. Customers don’t lack options but they do lack relationships. People appreciate it when you have a meaningful relationship with them.
How would you feel if…
If you knew someone who only called you when they needed something how would that make you feel? Would you look forward to their calls or screen them? It’s the same with business-customer relationships.
If you own a business and the only time you contact your customers is because you need (to sell) something then guess what? You get filed away under that just-another-business-who-wants-my-money folder.
This is why it’s important to keep relationship building messages relational. This doesn’t mean you never ask for a sale or let people know about your service. It means you have enough self-control to email a customer without selling something. But what would you say?
How do you send relationship building messages?
How about offering them valuable content? If you’re a financial planner you could send them a monthly newsletter that explains how to get out of debt, how to budget or how to get your free credit report.
What if you sell expensive furniture? You could email decorating and design tips, furniture history and a free tool that lets your customers design their own floor plan.
You get the idea. Think about what you do and the common questions people ask you. Compile that information into an email newsletter or free eBook and give it away to your customers. That’s right. Give away products that you could easily sell. It can be hard to do but a lifelong customer is more valuable then making a quick buck.
How do you focus on building relationships with your customers? Do you feel like you have to sell something every time you contact someone? Leave a comment below.