How Relationships Get You Jobs, Customers and Opportunities

The other day a consultant friend of mine told me that she was exhausted from trying to sell her services.  She found the process uncomfortable, taxing and in conflict with her style.  She also stated she was tired of hearing “no” which wasn’t helping her self-esteem.

Hating sales myself, I knew from where she was coming. Therefore I offered the following advice: “To stop selling and start engaging.” 

Whether you’re selling services, products or skills for a job, no one wants to be sold to.  Think of the negative reputation of hard salespeople.  Although my friend wasn’t a hard salesperson, most people shut down when they think they’re being sold.  You get much further when you build relationships first.

Need more leads, customers or a job? Build engaging relationships.  Below are three ideas to consider:

  1. Change your mindset.  Don’t think “sell”, think “engage.” Therefore, try changes your focus to building relationships.  Network and connect with your potential customer base.  Going to lunch or having a cup of coffee to become better acquainted works wonders in building connections. Spend time getting to know others and finding common ground.  People are more likely to buy from someone they know than an unknown.
  2. Get in front of your customer.  Think of ways to demonstrate what your offering so potential buyers can see it in action.  Many of us don’t know what we need until we see it.  This technique is used by infomercials.  Think of demonstrations at trade shows when the vacuum cleaner salesperson throws dirt on the floor and then cleans it up right in front of you.  They know that once you see it, you can’t live without it.  You can try the same technique.
  3. Do it for Free.  Accepting free engagements and volunteering has helped me build many connections and build credibility.  Although I’ve learned to be strategic about my selections, I never see volunteering as “doing it for free”.  Instead, I view it as advertising, exposure and a way to increase my contact base.  Don’t get me wrong, I still need to bring home a paycheck.  However, I volunteer when I can and I’m selective.  It’s  also a great way to demonstrate your skills if you’re looking for a job.

Don’t get frustrated trying to sell your services, products or skills.  Instead, try engaging your potential customer by changing your mindset, getting in front of them or doing it for free.  You’ll be surprised how effective it can be. Better yet, it’s much more fun.  Good luck!

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