More Than Closing: Sales Prospecting & Building Relationships

Sales Strategy
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By Small Business Pulse

As a salesperson, you will always be driven to close the sale and convert prospects into customers, but today’s salespeople need to master more skills than simply making the deal. Along with closing the sale, you should be focused on client relationships. Salespeople not only need to be able to close a deal, they should also be able to identify potential sales channels and build relationships with potential clients.

Before you can close a sale, you need to have a prospective customer to pitch. For this reason, prospecting is a very important skill for a salesperson to master. Those who are good at prospecting can identify potential customers whose needs may be fulfilled by their product or service. There are many ways to go about prospecting.

On The Sales Blog, Anthony Iannarino published a post titled, “7 Ways to be Better at Prospecting.” In it, he recommends playing to your strengths, but not focusing exclusively on them. “To prospect successfully, you need to focus your time and energy on the methods that work best for you. But that doesn't mean you should neglect everything else. If you are great at cold calling, you should absolutely focus on cold calling. But that doesn’t mean that you should never use email marketing, inbound marketing, networking, trade shows and conferences, direct mail, social networking, or referrals. You should include all of these tools in your arsenal.”

Building relationships
While closing is important, building lasting-trusting relationships with clients is crucial to long-term success. Building a relationship with your customers where you are paying attention to their needs, as well as fulfilling their needs, will likely lead to repeat customers and better word-of-mouth advertising. An post titled “Successful Sales: How to Build Relationships and Still Close the Deal” by Jeff Haden states, “Relationships are built over time, and it’s important that early in the process your prospective clients gain trust in your belief in your product or service and your seriousness about delivering value.” Taking time to cultivate these relationships and actually listening to your clients will also help you develop your sales strategy. Input from your customers is an excellent way to help you identify how your product or service is beneficial to them.

Closing is a very important component of any sales strategy, but it is only one part of the sales tool kit. Knowing how to prospect and how to build client relationships will help you become better at pitching and closing sales.