Networking/Relational Sales

November 15, 2023

This month our Round Tables discussed the value of networking and the importance of relational sales.  Some of the questions our Round Tables pondered:

  1. What are the key challenges you’ve faced when trying to build and maintain professional relationships?
  2. How can businesses transition from a transactional sales model to one that is truly customer-centric, where every interaction adds value to the customer’s journey?
  3. What key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics do you use to assess the success of your relational sales efforts, and how do you ensure these metrics align with long-term relationship-building goals?

Each discussion will vary from Round Table to Round Table.  Below are some of the discussion points shared.

Prioritize communication.
One Detroit business leader realized that when he was first communicating with a new client, they talked back and forth, and back and forth.  And then suddenly he realizes it’s been six months since he last spoke to that client.  To combat this, he makes phone calls when in the car.  Even if he just gets voicemail, they can hear his voice and know that he has reached out with love.  Human interaction is so important.

One Round Table member owns a branding company.  She says, “I keep telling people, it’s about people.  Everything about our business is about people, ultimately, so we better prioritize relationships.”

Be real.
One business leader in Birmingham noted:  You must be intentional when you communicate with non-verbal techniques, otherwise it can come across as transactional.  I tell my sales team that you must be authentically you.  They need to know that you are somebody whom they want to do business with.

Realize that networking is a long-term proposition.  We are here to be patient, to love and serve.  That should be our first focus and God will take care of the backend.

Be Selective
You must be smart about networking, or you can get caught in the trap of the daily party.  If you are constantly networking and attending events, it can take away from your business activity and your family.  You must stay disciplined in your approach.

What are the KPIs? 

  1. Track new contacts.
  2. Compare the number of new clients with the number of repeat clients.
  3. A customer satisfaction profile provides useful feedback. There is friendship and business.  Friends and business go hand in glove, but they may not want to tell you everything, so the customer satisfaction profile may help you keep the business in the long run.
  4. Track how you respond to criticisms: Treat each one as a gold mine. Respond with action instead of defensiveness.

What Distinguishes Transactional Relationships from Customer-Centric Relationships

  1. Deep knowledge of the other person
  2. Genuine interest in them as a person
  3. Commitment to the other person’s welfare