Many people think that being a good salesperson requires developing relationships with lots of “rapport” and expressions of warmth. Their goal is to develop a persona like a fishing buddy or other person with whom their customer would share many good times and personal intimacy. The internet marketing side of this comes out in how you portray yourself in social media.
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with developing such relationships with your customers, it’s the wrong attitude with which to start. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your customer isn’t looking for a friend; they’re looking for an expert whom they can trust. Once they find such an expert, they expect to be told the truth, even when the truth won’t bring them closer to buying something from you. That’s what true experts do, and it’s what wins both minds and hearts.
Tell your customers the truth. Even better take the stance that you’re there to serve, not to sell. No one wants to be sold anything. People want to buy. Take the stance that you’ll find out what your customer needs, even if it isn’t something you can provide to them; even if it’s something that a competitor can provide. When you take this stance, you begin to rise above the crowd and gain a reputation for excellence and service.
If you want to really maximise the potential here, take the stance that you’ll even be willing to risk the relationship if that’s what you believe is best for the customer. This might include telling the customer that they’re about to do something that they haven’t thought through enough, or that is a mistake—and why. You can tell them this nicely, and you should always get permission first.
Those who do their level best to put the customer first, not just as a catchy slogan or catchphrase but as a way of living, will find in many cases that their customers will become enthusiastic fans who recommend them to all of their friends. They will refer business to you, and that’s always the best way to get new customers.
Once you understand that your customers need you to be the expert they can trust, you will find this leads to a variety of different behaviours. How will you dress? What will your website look like? How will you communicate with prospects? What will your stationery, business cards, and proposals look like? All of these questions can be answered by determining what will make it easiest for potential customers to view you as an expert they can trust.
Those who try to be all things to all prospects find themselves in a weak position, since it is impossible to be an expert in everything. They rarely build lasting relationships of real value.
Don’t be your customer’s friend. Be their ally and serve their true needs. See what happens. You’ll be amazed at the results.
The Internet Marketing Academy
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