Sellers, more than any other professional, are fully aware that successful communication with leads and prospects is paramount. Whether it be by email, a phone call, or in person, people buy from people, so it’s important to maintain “the human touch”.
The human touch enables a true relationship and trust to be developed between the two parties and can go a long way in sales since there is an opportunity to establish a connection at all stages of the sales cycle.
Relationship Selling – Why People Buy from People
Among various buzzwords, ‘relationship selling’ is a common term that salespeople are usually hit with. As simple as it may sound, this term brings its own confusion. Is relationship selling part of a process? Does it refer to customers or to everyone in sales? Does it apply to teams or just to individual sales people? Is it transactional?
In the simplest terms, selling by building relationships with customers/prospects is about understanding what matters to your customer and communicating the value you can bring. While CRMs like Salesforce can help with this, relationship selling is all about taking the data they uncover about a contact and using it to build relationships. It’s about adding a human element to the conversations and proving that you know your customers’ needs, know the best way to engage with them, know what you can deliver that can address their needs, and solve their business problems. Doing this in a way that conveys their value and importance to your organization is the art of building relationships and making the relationship work for both companies.
People Buy From People They Trust
Relationship-oriented sellers prioritize their connection with the customer over all other aspects of the sale. They develop trust by adding value and spending a lot of time with prospects – before and after attempting to close a deal.
Today, sales teams are facing a growing need for trust as sellers struggle to humanize their sales processes in a world where transactions are increasingly being led by Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. New developments in AI are getting better and better at mimicking human behavior. But these technologies are often not as smart as many would believe.
While chatbots and AI can be helpful for smaller, transactional sales, salespeople need to fill the demand for the human touch. A recent study done by McKinsey found that as sales become more complex and higher-value, the need for human interaction increased. Of those surveyed, 76% said meeting in person was a personal touch that indicated how much a supplier valued them. Even more tellingly, 59% of customers say they would buy from a supplier on the condition that they’d met in person before.
The human touch is vital for complex, high-value sales.
Adding the Human Touch to Complex Sales Motions
By delivering insight, knowledge and value, based on customer’s unique goals, salespeople can fully benefit from the relationships they have built and the trust they have earned while dealing with a customer/prospect.
This is possible when sales teams are guided by account planning strategy, methodology, and technology that provides a framework to help sellers uncover how to solve their customer’s business problems so that they can deliver maximum impact for their customers. That’s the underlying foundation on which sustainable business relationships are built – and there is no success in business without relationships. There is no success in sales without impactful connections between the right people in the seller’s organization and the right people at the customer’s organization – and that’s not something that can be outsourced to AI.
So, moving away from the legacy approach of pushing their own agenda, salespeople should adopt a revenue optimized approach where ‘what does our customer need’ and how we can help them, is the value that every human conversation can add to a sales discussion.
This takes a shift in behavior that requires a strategy to align with the customer, methodology to guide selling, and technology to connect everyone on the revenue team and create a heightened value for the customer, making it a long-lasting, value-based relationship between the entire revenue team and the customer.