Relationship building is a lot like dating. Who here has done online dating? I have, and your mindset and objective are critical in dictating the pace and speed of trust and connection. Without trust and connection, your relations will not have longevity.
If your mindset is to build a friendship rather than find the right one, then you will find many friendships and within that the possibility of the right one.
The Smarter Sales Manifesto is all about nurturing and valuing lasting relationships into partnerships. In it, you learn not only how to get a man or woman’s attention but to keep it.
We all just want to have interesting experiences with interesting people. To do this you need to find out what is interesting about the other person. Such as, do your values, perspective and humour align? Relationships are so much easier to nurture when there is a mutual connection.
Every sale starts with a social relationship in some form or another, but it’s no longer enough to just ‘be’ on social. Today, your social media presence and getting the best ROI from your marketing efforts are only as good as the relationships you engage and build. Making genuine connections with your fans and followers needs to be a driving force behind everything you do online whether in business or in your personal life.
Building solid social relationships in B2B is no different to building them in the real (in your face) life! Social selling is a lot like dating. It can be a long and gruelling process, but it is necessary to find establish the right fit.
Dating is a lot like trying before you buy in business. A salesperson is a key representative of the company culture and service. I experienced a car salesperson who was arrogant rude and unhelpful. Despite this, my partner bought the new car and it has been a terrible and costly experience. I am sure you have had an experience when they did not have a connection with or trusted relationship with a salesperson and then went on to regret the purchase.
Your prospects and buyers spend a lot of time and energy researching, reading, testing, and trying to cut through the sales jargon to find the right solution to their problem. It is time-consuming and for this reason, your customers are looking for long-term commitments with companies that have a vested interest in them and their future success.
The sales environment is now quality over quantity. Gone are the days of ‘hit and run’ relationships and dialling-for-dollars. Like a date, buyer’s wanting to feel like they are the only relationship you have. Buyers have the balance of power to demand this that they are treated like your one and only. In this competitive market environment, you must demonstrate that you are genuinely interested in them and service their specific need.
You would not marry someone you did not trust (at least, I hope not), neither is a buyer going to purchase from a company they do not trust. And trust is invested in the person representing the company, product or service. Think of your most enduring relationship, they thrive on transparency and trust, shared valued and memorable experiences.
I remember meeting a personal trainer through an online dating site and he was so pedantic about not spending any money on the initial date in-case there was no a connection. Now I had no problem meeting for a coffee between bookings, in a bar next door to his workplace because he did not have time to venture further. Besides having a fixed mindset and very fixed views there clearly was not a values match.
How Much Research Do You Do?
You do not have to be match.com; there is enough information out there about your buyers to help you assess who is a good fit against your criteria. There is no excuse for wasting your time and theirs. You can find who your buyers are, what they’re saying, and what’s important to them even before you start the relationship. Big data and analytics from the social channels can predict the future of a buyer and seller relationship before it happens. A great try before you buy is an on or off-line discovery session, with the intention of sharing some real value and ask open questions to refine best fit and value of the opportunity.
Think about how you ask someone out on a first date if you were online what would you need to know and feel to venture down this path? How many conversations would you need to have with the prospective date, would a wave be enough, an exchange of messages or a telephone conversation? Each of these touchpoints will progress the relationship. You can start with a tweet or retweet, a follow a LinkedIn request or a blog post comment. Social media provides many opportunities to get on the buyer’s radar. And once you do, you can start building a relationship towards a lasting partnership.
Do You Create a Good Impression?
As you would spend time preparing for a first date. You must invest the extra effort to get your website, profile pages, company descriptions and cover images and message representative of your brand and mission. Your online presence is the initial entry point and a potential customer’s first introduction to your company. Make sure you are dressed to impress!
Are Your Interesting to Others?
Don’t be that guy who talks about himself – it’s boring! If you want other to be interested in, you by talking about things they are interested in hearing! In social media courtship, overtly pitching and selling is a turn-off. Rather start a conversation, ask questions and listen.
Understand what your potential customers need, and then provide it in creatively interesting ways that are helpful, funny, engaging and/or informative. B2B marketers that use blogs receive 67% more leads than those that do not. Create and share your unique perspective, knowledge and insight and curate the rest. It is important to position you and your brand as a trusted thought leader in your industry.
When your fans and followers engage (like, comment, share, retweet), they are sending you signals that they like what you post. Then do more of this! Too often I talk to sales professionals that do not know their analytics. Many apps make it easy for you to digest what is working and what is not. You must work smarter and pay attention to these cues if you want your actions to create results.
Slow and steady wins the race! Building any solid relationship with connection and trust requires patience and persistence. There are no shortcuts to creating an engaging social presence that attracts the ideal audience for your brand and keeps them engaged.
This article was originally published on Business Growth Blog
Janice B Gordon: The Problem Solver Business Growth Expert, Speaker, Consultant and Mentor. Janice is author of Business Evolution - Creating Growth in a Rapidly Changing World This book gives you the guidance you need to evolve you and your business and exceed your customers' wants and needs.