This Valentine’s Day, those in B2B sales should take a cue from these dating behaviors, as they’re similar to how you should approach customers to make them fall in love with your product, no matter what you’re selling.
Courting a customer can feel like dating. When you start dating someone, you typically do some research to get to know the person and work on building a relationship if it’s a mutual fit. You probably have an idea of the type of person you want to meet, but it doesn’t hurt to know more about them. As you go out of your way to help them out or check in regularly so they know you’re thinking about them, you earn their trust and perhaps even fall in love.
Here’s how that can work in building B2B customer relationships.
Be Informed and Prepared
Be as educated as possible so you can earn the trust you want. The best salespeople I’ve known were the ones that took the time to help me solve a problem. Start with good intentions and a keen understanding of why your product or service will make their life better. If you want to be helpful, you better know your product inside and out. Come prepared, knowledgeable, and ready to share information. But also make sure to actively listen to what they really want and connect the dots to demonstrate how your product will fill their needs.
Build The Relationship
You opened yourself up to a new customer and shared your knowledge. They are taking in all the information and considering how it fits or doesn’t fit their organization. This leads to questions, which some refer to as the objection phase (or in dating, perhaps the “getting to know you” phase). Don’t be afraid of this stage. Use open-ended questions (avoid a yes or no answer) as you start meeting with prospects – what are they looking to solve? Take notes on everything they say so you can address it all. This dialogue will help build the relationship, hopefully toward a lasting relationship, if you can address all the pain points.
Close The Deal
If you have done your prep work, know your product inside and out and chased down any extra information the customer wanted, getting into a committed relationship – closing the deal – should be easy. In fact, you may not need to ask for the order. The customer will likely turn to you to ask, “When do we start?”
Take Next-Level Action
The relationship is off to a great start; don’t drop the ball by failing to check in. Leverage your CRM, as it is the most powerful tool in a salesperson’s arsenal. It will alert you to key dates or events with a clear action that needs to be taken. This will allow you to focus on performance. Set a reminder each quarter to check-in with your customer and learn how the product is working for them and if it is still meeting their needs.
Congrats, you’re in a relationship now. To make it successful, stay engaged. The follow-up never stops. At my organization, we like to say “once a sale is made, the selling begins.”
Raul Perdigão Silva runs Global Head of Sales at Pipedrive, the leading CRM for sales and marketing teams. Connect with him on LinkedIn.