As a sales professional, commanding respect from clients is crucial to building sustainable relationships and closing deals. However, respect cannot be demanded or forced upon others. Sometimes respect needs to be taught. It is something we learn from each other when we truly appreciate one another’s different sensitives, likeness and boundaries. One avenue to gaining respect is by creating boundaries for both parties.
Set the Tone from the Beginning
First impressions do, indeed, matter. You create a lasting impression through not only the careful choice of words or a confident tone, but also how you make eye contact and maintain your engagement in the first meet. Just like a first date, setting the tone on expectations at both ends and being clear about an outcome helps navigate the relationship more clearly. You do not want to be in a situation where you are waiting by the phone to see if they are going to call back for the next meet. Call it exploratory, but do lay out the foundation of what needs to occur on both ends at the start.
Embrace the Power of ‘No’
As a sales professional, hearing no can be frustrating and discouraging, but it is important to remember that you cannot win them all. Instead of focusing on getting a yes at all costs, learn to embrace the power of no. Doing so frees you to gain a deeper understanding of your clients’ objections, fears and doubts. These do not have to make sense because irrational fear is a genuine process that clients go through when making large investments. Simply use the information to either tailor your sales approach to their specific needs or walk away. Your time is precious and highly valuable.
Learn to Say No
It is essential to set clear boundaries that define what you are willing and not willing to do as a sales professional. Saying yes to every client request, no matter how unreasonable, can harm your credibility and respect in the long run. By learning to say no in a respectful and professional manner, you can create boundaries that establish your expertise, professionalism and integrity. This enables clients to take you seriously and engage with you more actively, resulting in fruitful relationships. Remember, refusing a sales opportunity is your right as well. Remembering that you, too, can say no at any time helps you learn and improve upon understanding client needs, timing, budgeting and negotiation culture.
Leave the Door Open
Building sustainable relationships with clients requires you to be patient, empathetic, and understanding. Even if a prospect is not ready to close a deal at the moment, it is essential to agree on what the next steps will be in order to maintain a positive relationship. Inform them that you are going to leave the door open for future engagement. Be organized and make note of the intervals in which you will need to stay in touch (based on the agreed timelines). When appropriate, provide value-added services, such as important information that the client would be interested in, including reports, research material or data they can use to build a business case. It is not just about being available when they need you, but being ready when they need you. By living your personal brand, you can command respect and establish yourself as a trusted advisor who knows how to anticipate and cater to client needs.
Be Authentic and Genuine
Lastly, it is essential to be yourself and display your personality in your sales approach. Clients are looking for genuine connections with salespeople who convey authenticity, transparency, and honesty. By being yourself, you can build a rapport with clients that goes beyond just business and establishes a genuine connection built on trust and mutual respect.
Becoming a Respected Salesperson
Creating respect in a sales engagement requires you to build boundaries that demonstrate your expertise, professionalism, and your inner compass of integrity. By setting the tone from the beginning, embracing the power of no, learning to say no, leaving the door open, and being authentic and genuine, you can build sustainable relationships that go beyond just closing deals. Respect can be learned, and by creating boundaries that showcase your professionalism and authenticity, you can become a respected salesperson clients look up to.