5 Tips for Lasting Relationships: Coffee with the CEO

Coffee With the CEO Graphic - July 3


Because I love this business and studying what we do that makes us successful (that’s “sales speak” for looking for ways to improve), I have come up with a few tips that may help you in your pursuit of lasting relationships.  

1. Listen More

Half of communication is listening. Great salespeople spend more time listening than they do talking. Ask questions then listen. They will tell you everything you need to know. Respect the process and know not everyone is going to buy from you (bummer). Dust yourself off and get back at it. I have to tell myself to slow down and listen all the time. Salespeople believe they have so many important things they need to say, but having a conversation is all you really need to do.

2. Understand What They Need

If we are using our listening skills, the customer will tell you what they need. It may be subtle, but they will. Pay attention. For example, if they say “I’m looking for pricing.” That means they have not found a price they like. If they say, “it needs to meet a crane. It has to be there!” To me, that means they have struggled with making this happen in the past, and it is a pain point.

3. Talk Their Language

The customer has a different way of speaking about the product than we do. Learn it. How do they function internally; who does what, when is a quote for real or not?  The more time you spend with them, the more you will learn. This is part of being on their team.

4. Know The “Why” Behind The “What”

If you know what they do and how they do it, do you know why they do it?  What need does this product fill with their own customer? This is a deeper dive to know other types of problems they may be facing. It will also tell you if they put the same efforts into taking care of the shipping as they do the creation of the product. Their website may say they strive for the highest quality, but they will often settle for the cheapest price and bad service in delivering it to their own customer.  We can save them from that too. What problem can you solve by knowing how they do business and the service they promise to deliver? Buy into what they are doing and be the customer’s advocate, not an order taker. I want to feel like I am in their office working together. The fact that I am not sitting next to them is just geography. When I work with a customer, I am working for them, and I will do anything to help them be successful.  

5. Share Your Success Stories

Selling often shifts into how we can help the customer. But a mistake often made is selling them something we want to sell, not what they are asking for. This is not necessarily bad; it is just a more difficult approach and not one for today’s buyers. We are really selling our brand to them through stories of successes from similar situations. A customer must see themselves being successful working with us and how we manage work. You can say “who we are” and “what we do,” but if “why we do” it is not part of the sell, you are just like everyone else. Your brand needs to be uniquely relevant to your customers if you want faster growth. Successful salespeople have created this environment with their customers and it is a proven sustainable relationship.

What’s your story?


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