When done effectively, relationship selling can help you build trust with customers, establish rapport, boost sales, and get more word-of-mouth referrals. Building a strong connection with customers above all other sales-related aspects is a powerful tool that allows your team to demonstrate its value, which leads to higher revenue in the years to come.
Now more than ever, your sales team should be focused on maintaining customer relationships — even if meeting in person isn’t optimal yet. As the COVID-19 pandemic has made it tougher to see each other face to face, most teams are shifting to online communication methods to keep in touch with customers. So relationship selling is not dead —it's just transformed.
What does relationship selling mean in a post-Covid world?
Relationship selling doesn’t have to necessarily mean you’re taking your customers out to lunch once a month. If you have access to strong customer data, you can use those insights to uncover customers’ sales trends, pinpoint new opportunities, and strengthen your customer relationships.
Here’s how you can use data to embrace relationship selling during these times:
1. Take on the role of trusted adviser
When you focus on relationship selling, your role is to help the customer by offering personalized recommendations that lead to an improved bottom line. Reach out with suggestions, send them links to relevant content, or introduce them to someone that could make a difference in their business.
You’re not necessarily selling to them all the time. Providing valuable advice strengthens the relationship, making it more likely that your customer will seek you out when they want to buy. Use every phone call and email as an opportunity to offer advice or value.
2. Gain insight into their buying habits
With the help of a data analytics tool, you can use data to stay in sync with your customers. When you look at your customer’s ordering history, you can predict when they’ll place their next order and what they’ll buy. Using the relationship selling approach offers an opportunity for a sales rep to up-sell by suggesting paired products.
The data works in other ways, too. You can monitor how much your customers purchase daily, weekly, monthly, or annually to identify their spending trends. If you notice a customer has been gradually purchasing less from you, you can use those insights to reach out and attempt to rebuild that connection before it’s too late.
You can also use data to track how often you stay in touch with customers to ensure you’re connecting with them regularly. Reach out often with emails to check in and ask about details of their personal lives such as hobbies, family, and vacations.
3. Pinpoint new opportunities
Using data can also help you find opportunities for cross-selling to customers. A data analytics tool like Phocas will show you which customers are buying which products, so you can figure out who might be interested in buying a complementary product.
This helps build your customer’s brand loyalty to your business at the same time as it boosts your company revenue. Over time, the data will help you determine whether your value-added services lead to increased sales or whether your attention might be better focused on a more profitable customer.
4. Build on your best customers
Uncovering your customer’s sales trends is one of the key benefits of a data-driven relationship selling approach. It’s easier than ever to figure out who your most profitable customers are, so your sales reps can prioritize the accounts that bring in the most revenue.
These include metrics such as how much business a customer generates, how profitable they are in gross margins, loyalty, and what they cost to serve. Your sales team should go the “extra mile” for these top customers, providing them the gold standard in personal attention, regular contact, and recommendations to keep them around. Examples include taking them out to dinner, inviting them to your office, and sending them tickets to a local show.
Strong customer data is a useful, viable way to continue relationship selling, even when you may not be able to meet face-to-face with your customers. That way, even when those meetings pick up again, you’ll be prepared with the data-driven insights you need to continue building these key relationships..
To learn more about relationship selling with data, download this free ebook: Build the case for sales analytics.