Relationship building has always been an important aspect of selling. But, just because an eager salesperson comes calling doesn’t necessarily mean key decision makers in target accounts will want to spend quality time with them.
What’s the key to building effective relationships? Great Question! Unfortunately, however, the notion of establishing relationships has traditionally revolved around the idea of building rapport–befriending people in the hopes that they will be more likely to purchase your product or service.
The problem is most customers are already being pursued by tons of vendors who all want to become ‘buddies’ in order to make a sale. If you are selling to your best friend, then your relationship may help make them more comfortable. If not, then projecting a false sense of ‘friendliness’ actually causes people to be even more standoffish.
For example, here’s a simple exercise I often do with students in our LIVE QBS training courses. Just for fun, hold your index fingers up to your two eyebrows. Now, raise your eyebrows up and down and you will feel movement under your fingers. Alas, you have eyebrow muscles!
Next time you meet with a customer, or if you are the customer, the next time you come in contact with a salesperson, watch what happens to their eyebrows. For some mysterious reason, they shoot up into the rafters as the salesperson’s face instantly lights up, clearly excited about the possibility of making a sale.
Compare that ‘raised eyebrow’ phenomenon to your normal facial expression when you are helping someone or talking with them about a potential problem. You will notice that when a salesperson is truly adding value, their eyebrows are square on their face, and not elevated to the edge of their hairline.
The lesson is simply this. Next time you come in contact with a customer, and you are super-excited to meet them, there is a high probability that you will come off as fake, insincere, or even worse, commission-hungry.
Think about it this way. That super-enthusiastic person is NOT really you. "Hello, Mr. Customer, I am so so happy to meet you!!!" You might as well add, "but this is not really me, because my face has exploded into a giant fake smile, and if you give me a minute my eyebrows will come down to Earth and we can have a real discussion."
If you naturally have a super-charged, highly enthusiastic personality, that’s fine–be yourself. If not, then projecting a fake smile and seeming commission hungry might not create the best first impression, especially for those customers who may already be cautious of dealing with a disingenuous salesperson.
Note that it’s perfectly okay to be pleasant and cordial, but when first meeting potential customers, it’s much more important to be purposeful, relevant, credible, and valuable.