Enterprises are made up of the individual people who represent them, such as sales, service, and support personnel. Service-oriented enterprises are especially dependent up their employees to build relationships when there is no tangible product offering. It is important for salespeople to develop an ability to cause prospects to purchase products and/or services from them, and for service and support people to preserve the relationship. The relationship is almost always about the individual, regardless of the reputation of the enterprise.
Whereas some customers will purchase products and/or services from an enterprise regardless of specific sales, service, and support people, it is often the relationships between individuals that make the difference in perception of quality and comfort of doing business. Therefore, it is essential for all individuals that have contact with prospects and customers to be able to develop, enhance, and maintain business activity through strong relationships. After all, nothing happens until a sale is made, but delivering the product and/or service in a memorable quality manner is extremely important to enhancing and maintaining the relationship for future opportunities.
For anybody that has prospect or customer contact, regardless of whether in sales, service, or support, it is important to know the factors that help cement relationships between individuals. Seven factors for building relationships between individuals that are doing business with each other are to be:
- A listener and able to share common interests
- An expert and a problem solver – being able to engage others as necessary to achieve results
- Busy, sought after, and enjoying success
- Genuine and approachable
- Likable, humble, practical, and down-to-earth
- Professional in appearance and related behaviors
- Trustworthy and honest
Part of the success in building relationships is the ability of sales, service, and support personnel to be able to identify the personal styles of prospects and customers, and adapting theirs accordingly as they apply the seven factors.
Two easy ways to identify the personal styles of prospects and customers is by their appearance and the words they use:
- Challengers – tend to dress casually and use words that stress energy, excitement, competition, risk, impulsiveness, and immediacy
- Causals – tend to dress fashionably and use words that stress peace, harmony, family, friendship, causes, arts, and avoidance of conflict
- Stabilizers – tend to dress conservatively and use words that stress safety, security, rules, regulations, service, duty, order, and heritage
- Visionaries – tend to dress practically and use words that stress analysis, logic, competence, science, vision, and the future
Once the personal style has been identified, it is essential to use the appropriate language. For example, when selling a house to a:
- Challenger – the rooms are large enough for fun parties, the garden and pool are great for outdoor games and activities, but there are competing offers so it’s important to move right now
- Causal – the rooms are large enough for gatherings with family and friends, the walls are large enough to hang lots of pictures, the views are enjoyable from the windows, the pets have a large garden to play in, and there have been no problems with the developer
- Stabilizer – the house is well-built by a reputable developer in an established neighborhood, with a reliable alarm system, and has withstood the test of time
- Visionary – the house is in a neighborhood that will develop in the future, has a spare room for computers and other equipment, and is made from materials that meet or exceed all professional and regulatory standards
To turn prospects into new customers, and enhance and maintain the relationships with existing customers through additional products and/or services, it is essential to apply the seven factors with the posture and language that fits their personal styles.
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