Relationship Selling – Creating Customer Value

Edna B. Shearer

Relationship selling is all about creating customer value. When you recognize the customers needs and help them define them better and deeper your value goes up. It’s not just seeing value in your product. They want value from your solution to their problem. They must perceive unique value from you. This is where your USP (unique selling proposition) comes in. You must differentiate from the competition.

So how do you differentiate? Why should they buy from you?

Just being different isn’t really enough. They want to see your added value. As a business professional its necessary to take a leading role to create the value for your customers. You want to understand their situation and adapt to their particular wants and needs. If you recognize customers’ needs and create the value for them, they will move from the initial meeting to a decision much easier. In today’s world you can’t survive if you are not creating value for the customer.

What creates customer value?

Relationship selling skills. In the old days this would be a skilled sales force. Today this is another hat you need to wear as a small business owner. Understand that the sales process is a process. A step by step progression which requires learning some new skills.

In relationship selling, you create the value when you recognize the customers needs. You can create customer value in each step of the sales process but the most value can be created early in the process by helping customers to define their needs. Asking open-ended questions will open the door to a meaningful conversation. By creating a specialized situation you can put them in a buying frame of mind even if it wasn’t what they were thinking prior to your call. Asking the right kind of questions will help them dig deeper and define their true needs better.

Identify their triggers. What is their real pain? What are their real needs? All customers are not created equal and as such must be treated differently. What works for one may not work at all for another. Get to know their real reasons; understand their pain. Know what keeps them awake at night. Find out what is happening in their life. These answers give you a very powerful tool to adjust your consultation to fit their needs.

Focus on the prospects goals. If you are just selling your product you are missing the point. Customers are looking beyond the product. They are looking for the solution to their needs and that you are understanding their situation. You are a solutions provider. That means that in addition to your product you include help and advice too.

Concentrate on understanding their issues and show them how to solve more than one goal with your product. When you create customer value this way, you will make the sale regardless of the price.

Alternatively if you don’t do this you will not get the sale whatever your price is. Even if its the lowest price on the market it won’t mean much to the prospect because they won’t see the difference between your product and the competitions. Buyers buy from someone that has crafted a compelling solution to their needs and understands their needs. Then they focus on the financial part of the deal. In a nutshell; create value through how you’re selling, not just through what you’re selling. That is they way to be a true business professional.

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