Most people conjure up socializing when they here the term relationship selling. In business relationships are all about helping each other survive and prosper in their jobs. Socializing should be a byproduct of good relationship selling.

If I’m a C-Level executive decision maker, a relationship would mean providing me with solutions to problems such as, taking care of my employees, saving me money, helping me beat competition, making it easier for more sales, etc. If you can deliver, and I see it’s you that makes it happen, then I want to continue working with you and possibly socialize with you.

Socializing can be great fun, but unless the conversations during those encounters goes to building trust around you professionally, that socializing will not produce more sales. In other words, when you’re in that golf cart or at that dinner, your discussions needs to be establishing credibility. The best way is to show these C-Levels how they can get what they want through you. Then getting his or her commitment that s/he will give you a chance to prove it or meet with you further. It is amazing how many seasoned sales people feel relationship selling is socializing. They strive to entertain and are shocked when they don’t get preferential treatment when it comes to winning a sale.

One of my medical services clients used to drop off donuts and other treats every time they visited a doctor’s office and chit-chat with the staff about kids, vacations and sports. They truly believed they were developing relationships that would insure more business. After working with them we switched the conversations to helping them solve their patient and doctor problems. As a result, business tripled.

Too much time is wasted and too much money is spent trying to get friendly. The people that are impressed with social encounters and gratuities are usually lower levels and do this with all vendors, meaning no one gets a competitive advantage. Social relationships will not bind you to an individual professionally. Delivering results that help him or her solve business problems will.

Besides, some people don’t what to get friendly, especially the higher titles. They want to focus on getting problems solved and making money. They want to spend what little time they have with their families and their own friends. Some may feel it’s unethical or are prohibited from socializing. However, all buyers want solutions and profitable relationships develop with those that deliver.

So here are some tips for developing professional relationships.

Prepare Yourself

1. Practice getting information and developing rapport without lunch, golf etc.

Assume you have no entertainment budget. How would you get it done?

Hint: Focus the conversation on this key executive, but stick with work related topics that involve your expertise. Caution: Don’t keep talking about how you or your company can help him. Rather keep asking about his problems, as they relate to your business, and what he wants to do about them.

For example ask, “What are your issues and concerns as it relates to …”

2. Don’t assume you know what every High Level Executive wants. You’ll be wrong. Besides, executives feel good when they have a chance to discuss what they want and this will go a long way to developing your credibility.

3. So ask him, “What would I or my competition have to do or provide to make you feel great about this problem, project or sale?”

Then dig deeper and ask, “How come this is so important to you?”

What you’ll learn will help you prepare a potent presentation for this person

4. Practice Golden Silence. That is, keep your mouth shut, no matter what’s said and no matter how badly you want to address it. Say, “Um hum. What else?”

You’ll be amazed what you’ll learn if you don’t interrupt.

5. Go back to your office and outline your plan on how you’ll give him what he’s told you he wants. If he buys it, every time you hit a milestone on that plan, make a point to let him know it – in person is always best, or by letter, card, note, email; phone call, voicemail; lunch, golf, etc.

6. Broadcast your accomplishments. Let him know it took effort to make it happen. This is called getting associated with the solution. If you don’t make follow-up visits after the completion or delivery, you’ll never be considered special or develop a working relationship. Then, ask this executive and his associates to lunch, golf, etc.

7. When there’re problems, ask for your buyer’s suggestion to correct them. Don’t argue or try to justify. Tell him you will look in to it and promise to get back with an appropriate solution.

Start working these 7 tips and you’ll soon be up close and professional with top level decision makers. You’ll close more deals, attain preferred status, and make more money. Don’t and you’ll stay the way you are.

And now I invite you to learn more.

Bonus Tip: FREE E-Book “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers”. Also, learn how to handle 50 tough selling situations and difficult closing problems with my TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER$ Problem Solving Manual.

Author's Bio: 

Sam has put together his unique “Take’n It to the Streets” actions for you to feel you belong with any level or executive. Just click this link Elevate Yourself to the C-Level NOW 10 Strategies, Tactics and Techniques plus narratives and an example to show you how.

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