You may be new to sales and looking for tips and tools, or a seasoned executive open to refreshers and reminders. No matter your goal, sales success starts with your foundation and ability to build relationships. Learning about your prospective members, clients and customers is a first step in building those relationships and is often the key in converting prospects to new business.

We know that relationship builds trust and credibility, and that most people do business with people they like, know, and trust. So, as you identify prospective members, clients and customers are your strategies transactional or relational?

Here are 5 tips or reminders to help you proactively form member, client, and customer relationships:

  1. Build rapport. Get to know the person as well as the business.
  2. Using a discovery worksheet, identify goals, priorities, and motivations. Uncover their business goals, challenges, and priorities and learn how your business, product, or service can help or be a solution.
  3. Keep the conversation going. Relationship happens when you talk to your clients throughout the year regarding what’s important to them. Personal contact and engagement are essential.
  4. Develop a follow-up system using a customer relationship management system (CRM). Take notes when speaking with members, clients, and customers, enter this into your CRM, and use this information in future conversations. Schedule next steps and follow up. Implement a system that reminds you of follow-up actions on a specified date. Your notes allow you to continue a conversation and not start over with each interaction.
  5. Make relevant calls and visits to your members and clients. Spark conversation based on what you learned earlier. For example,
    • Let’s say your company sells office organization systems. You talked with a prospect and documented notes that they are remodeling their office next spring. You have noted that the budget and planning will take place early winter. Also, you noted what the focus of the remodeling will be and the solutions you can offer. Late fall you have a follow up scheduled to connect before they begin their planning and decision work. Be proactive, using your reminder system you set up to stay timely, relevant, and most importantly, relational.
    • Or let’s say you are a membership organization. You talked with a prospect about developing leaders at their company. You shared about a leadership program you offer to members. Your prospect or member shared they have a new staff person starting in 60 days and they would love to get them into a program like this. Be sure to put a follow task in for 75 days to continue this conversation and check if the new person has started and go from there. Again, be proactive, using your reminder system you set up to stay timely, relevant, and most importantly, relational.

With relationship, you aren’t simply selling and processing transactions. As the member or customer realizes you have their best interests in mind, you gain their trust. In turn, your conversations are more relevant, which allows you to interact in ways that benefit the client, rather than only processing a transaction or sale.

Shari Pash is the founder of Strategic Solutions for Growth, a training company headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI. Shari works with non-profit organizations, associations, and small businesses throughout the U.S. and Canada. Connect with Shari to learn more about how she can help your business or organization.