Relationship selling has long been the go-to approach for many salespeople. However, research has shown that most decision makers no longer want to build a relationship with a salesperson. The days of drop-by visits, “I’m just checking in” calls and brochures and other corporate literature sent out to clients are gone.
Your customers and prospects are too busy to sit and chat. They don’t have time to thumb through your latest catalogue of products or listen to you discuss the merits of your latest and greatest product update. Relationship selling is no longer as effective as it used to be—at least not in the traditional sense.
Recently, I wrote about the importance of salespeople improving their business acumen if they want to achieve long-term success. On the surface, this seems like a simple concept. However, the practical application is considerably more challenging. It means that we, as sellers, need to become more knowledgeable—not about our products but about current business issues.
I recently received an email from a salesperson who asked how she could develop this business acumen. Aside from reading trade magazines, the business section of the newspaper and scouring the Internet for new trends and issues, you can meet with existing customers and ask them what trends they are noticing, what challenges they are encountering in their businesses or what changes they anticipate. Be upfront by telling them that you want to broaden your knowledge. The key is to use this newfound knowledge to help other customers and prospects improve their business results.