As they say, “It is not about the destination, but rather the journey that is important.” While normally ascribed to a Zen-like journey to internal peace, it is also an instructive process towards developing a relationship with your customers. Anyone involved with inside sales or conducting sales calls understands that it is a process designed to build trust and establish rapport rather than a rush to close a sale. The reasons for this are simple if one were to stop and think about the problem from the other side of the phone line. After all, when we answer sales calls, we do not like to be pressed with high pressure sales tactics, so it makes sense that when we conduct inside sales calls that the people we reach out to feel the same way we do on the subject. Towards that end, while it may be intuitive to seasoned sales professionals to rush and close a deal before the customer has a chance to reconsider, a strong argument can be made that your sales team should not focus on the close, but should instead focus on building an enduring relationship that lasts long past those first sales calls.
Top 3 Reasons Why You Should Not Focus on the Close
Cultivating a relationship with a new customer is much like the beginning of a dance. A delicate step is necessary to not trod on your partner’s toes, and that is appreciated to the point that they will more than welcome another offer to dance, or in this case accept another offer to cut the rug when the music starts up again with another sales call. If you are looking to revamp your inside sales team’s approach to selling, then begin by telling them that they should not focus on closing the sale. Begin the Conversation It is almost impossible to understand your potential client’s need until you sit down and begin a conversation. As such, the first goal of any sales calls should aim at establishing a non-threatening communication not burdened with expectations that you are going to receive instant gratification in the form of a sales commission. After all, why should they trust you and your team if all you are trying to do is benefit yourself by selling them a product or service they might not need. Expand the Conversation While it is possible that your inside sales team might not be able to fill an immediate need resulting from sales calls, that does not mean that you can’t plant a seed for future sales opportunities. As such, expand the discussion to talk about their long term company goals. Essentially playing the long game, expanding the conversation from an obtrusive cold call into a bonafide conversation that allows your sales team the opportunity to build bridges between the customer’s current concerns and their future needs. Cement the Relationship It is not surprising that a cold call that results in providing help to a would-be customer, without the specter of recompense, would leave a lasting impression on the other party. Needless to say, when that party identifies a potential need in the future, they are more likely to reach out to trusted sources that have already demonstrated a willingness to engage and understand their unique set of problems and concerns. By not focusing on the sales closing, your inside sales team can instead concentrate on cementing relationships that are guaranteed to flourish in the future.
Building Bridges to the Future
The bottom line is that all sales relationships begin with a conversation that leads to mutual understanding and trust. Indeed, until you have begun talking to them, you have no idea what they might need or whether you can fulfill that desire. Should the conversation suggest that you are not in a position to help them with their problem, do not hesitate to offer suggestions that might help even if that help comes in the form of recommending a competitor’s product. While your team might lose that immediate short-term sale, they will gain goodwill that might translate into future business down the line. As such, don’t worry about the destination when you can focus on the journey while developing solid leads and productive relationships.