Relationship Building During a Sales Call

Posted on 09/13/2016 in Online Sales Training

Most salespeople agree that relationship building during a sales call is important but not every salesperson excels at this. Let’s explore two factors that will improve your ability to build relationships as a sales professional: 1)When is the best time during the sales call to do this?, and 2)How much time should you spend on relationship building?

The best time to build relationships is during the Opening Stage of the sales call because “…you only have one chance to make a first impression.” Use the initial time in the sales call to focus on relationship building, and then enhance it as the sales call develops further.

The second factor is: How much time should be spent on relationship building? Avoid the two extremes of spending too much time on relationship building in the Opening Stage, or skipping this stage altogether.

Learn more practical relationship building guidelines in the online Essential Selling Skills Module 4: The Opening Stage and Relationship Building

The amount of time you spend on relationship building depends on several factors such as:

  • How are you communicating with the customer? Typically, the time spent on relationship building is longer during an in-person sales visit than on a telephone call. This doesn’t mean that you should skip relationship building when speaking on the phone with a customer, but it does mean that you should plan on spending less time.
  • Does this person expect or enjoy small talk? As cited in our recent blog on Customer Personality Types some customers are more social and want to spend time on relationship building and rapport while other customers want to get down to business quickly. Vary your approach accordingly and you will be more effective.
  • How is the customer reacting? If the customer looks or sounds impatient and wants to move beyond the Opening Stage, transition to Exploring and Presenting Information, which are the next two stages in STAR’s 6-stage Sales Call Process.
  • What is your sales call objective? Some sales calls are primarily focused on relationship building. For example, imagine that your goal is to expand relationships with multiple customer contacts at one of your key accounts, so you’ve decided to schedule a joint sales call that will include a few people from your company and a few people from the account. A lot of time would be spent on relationship building in that example. By contrast, some sales calls are primarily task-focused and don’t require much relationship building.

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