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Developing Relationships Is Like Dating Your Client

Developing Relationships

The selling process is a lot like dating. In developing relationships think about how you would date your client. You would learn over time to develop  a relationship. This builds trust and confidence. It also assures that

  • you are able to change your mind about them and withdraw
  • the client is also working on the relationship because they see benefit to them
  • it is mutual

Like any unfolding relationship, you don’t do a brain dump of everything about you. You express interest in them and both of you share information about each other. If you don’t ask questions, then you must not be really interested in them. Is that how you would treat a date on Friday night?

You don’t tell them all the bad stuff up front, like how your product or service failed at one point and you had to do a pivot, or how your parents were awful to you as a child.

Instead you tell your client enough about yourself and your offering to make them interested in learning more. At the same time, you are qualifying them as someone you think would make a good client. So you are learning more about how they operate, and they are learning how your offering would improve what they do.

Dating Your Client

When you are starting a relationship the order in which you feed information is very important.  Just as you don’t start with your warts, you also want to keep their interest.

How many times have you sat in a meeting and picked up your phone to check messages or mail? I bet you can’t count that high.  What did the speaker do?

  • The speaker was boring or irrelevant
  • (s)he did not engage you in how you could contribute to their goal
  • It didn’t even spark any questions in your mind
  • possibly you were late to another event or had something more pressing

Now imagine you are the speaker. You have 2 minutes at most to catch the attention of the audience (of one or 50). What is it you want to say?

  • you need to be relevant
  • your subject matter needs to engage
  • the audience has to be thinking of questions to ask you

All in under two minutes!!

Building Trust

You don’t have to answer all their questions.  In fact, I strongly recommend you do not answer  every question that is asked. You want to use more questions as an opportunity to set up time for another meeting for follow up.

Then you want to send an email with a summary of the points discussed, the list of questions asked and maybe some responsibilities for them to complete before the next meeting. Nothing onerous but something that maintains engagement .

  • how would they use your product
  • who would have to be involved to figure that out
  • what would be the demand on internal resources
  • what is their target ROI

You also want to add what you will do are are doing for them in preparation for ht next meeting.

The client is engaged on a buying process that mirrors your selling process. You sell  the same thing repeatedly, so you are in a good position to help them with their buying process while you complete your selling process. That is how you develop relationship with your client.