The 3 Keys to Relationship Selling: How to Genuinely Build Relationships

If you’ve seen or read any of our past Sales Brews or material, you may have heard that seven seconds is the average length of time you have to make a great first impression. Trust is built from the get go. Seems complicated right? Hopefully I can help.

Relationship Selling Key #1:

Trust is one of three key factors to building strong, genuine relationships. Think about your best relationships- your family, your friends, your spouse. There is likely a strong foundation of trust with those individuals that your relationship was built upon. But fostering and nurturing relationships in sales is a different ballgame.

When we work with salespeople on how to build trust and relationships quickly, we first have to tackle the stuff that’s in their head- their own personal beliefs. If you believe it takes a long time to build relationships, then it’s probably going to take a long time. If you believe you have to be loved in order to win business, then you are going to work tirelessly to get the prospect to love you. What you do gets you your results So if prospects are not agreeing to appointments after a phone call, or if you’re not converting appointments to opportunities, the easy thing to do is to simply believe the suspect wasn’t qualified. The more difficult thing to do is to examine the fact that perhaps your relationship behaviors need some work. There is a direct correlation between what you do to establish trust and build strong relationships quickly, and the results you are getting.

Relationship Selling Key #2:

As mentioned, trust is a key factor to building genuine relationships in sales. But just as important, is your ability to be consultative, which is the second key factor. That means you;

  • Are able to stay in the moment
  • Uncover compelling reasons the prospect should buy
  • Are able to listen and ask enough, great questions with ease
  • Understand how a prospect will make their decision
  • Present at the right time
  • And maintain a healthy dose of skepticism

Relationship Selling Key #3:

Focusing on establishing trust and following a consultative process is only part of the equation- the part you can control. The other part of the equation are the factors that actively work against your ability to build relationships- i.e Prospects being busy and distracted, knowing more than we think they do, and allowing their previous experience with salespeople to taint their initial impression of you. But if you learn to communicate in such a way that captures their attention with a compelling conversation, they will take time to listen to your narrative. Additionally, you have to have the confidence that you are the professional in the room – not them. And finally, you have to break the mold of the typical salesperson. Remember our first rule – don’t look, act or sound like other salespeople.

It seems like a complicated equation. Trust + Consultative Selling divided by Distracted Prospects + Negative Past Experiences= somehow building genuine relationships. There is a reason I didn’t major in mathematics or human behavior. But here’s what I can tell you- it’s not as complicated as it sounds. The third, and final, key factor to building genuine relationships is a commitment to doing it. That requires practice, focus, and intentionally acting in a way to shift how you go about it. Having the attitude and belief that it’s critically important to your success is the final piece to the Relationship Building equation.

From Alex Cole-Murphy, Recruitment Specialist & Sales Development Expert
Anthony Cole Training Group


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