“The key to this business is personal relationships” – Jerry Maguire

Tom Cruise might’ve been referring to the business of sports representation in that classic movie, but sales professionals should take note of his advice. In fact, the sales industry is one that is largely built on relationships. Your prospecting team is responsible for building sales relationships with clients initially, and your sales reps have to maintain and improve upon those relationships. These 11 tips will help you and your reps build meaningful sales relationships with clients and potential customers.

1. Listen

Your customer will tell you what he wants if you give him the chance to.  Pay attention to what he says and ask questions instead of talking the whole time.  You will be able to better serve him with the knowledge he shares with you.

2. Seek feedback

Find out if your product fits what your clients are looking for.  See if there are any small adjustments that you can make to better serve their needs.  They will be more satisfied with the transaction and appreciate your efforts.

3. Use social media to discover interests

You should talk about something other than sales and the transaction.  Find things that you have in common with clients so that you can develop a bond.  You may be surprised by how much you enjoy talking with each other once you discover similar interests or shared experiences.

4. Respond promptly

This shows that the customer is a top priority.  It is flattering for a customer to know that you are paying him so much attention.  Additionally, it keeps him better informed of your progress and ensures you stay on his mind.

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5. Add value

Be prepared to give something of value – a solution, a fresh perspective, a free pen – to the prospective client early on and throughout the relationship.  When you are searching blogs or social media for things to help you, find things that might also be of interest to your clients.  Send links to blogs you think they might enjoy.  Set them up with people who you know would want to work with them.  Your good deeds will pay off.

6. As management, set the example

As a sales manager, you need to be a role model.  You should establish meaningful relationships with your reps so they can see how they should interact with customers.

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7. Have conversations, not sales pitches

Keep it casual.  You don’t want your customers to feel like you are pushing them to buy.  Move your focus away from the sales pitch and towards building sales relationships.  Once the relationship is in place, the sale will come naturally.

8. Be genuine

People can tell when you’re being insincere, so don’t be.  Your clients will stop trusting you if you seem fake.  It is obvious that you are only manipulating them for sales.

9. Make their lives easier

You want your clients to enjoy working with you.  If you can help them out, they will love doing business with you.  Try to make all of your interactions fit seamlessly into the prospect’s schedule.  Always be available in case they have a question or concern.

10. Be patient

Sales relationships aren’t built overnight – they take time to nurture and grow.  You need to be prepared to put in the necessary time to grow strong relationships with your clients.  Don’t try to push clients into a relationship; that will only scare them away.

11. Maintain your relationships

Don’t put in all of this hard work, only to fall out of touch with clients once the deal closes.  Keep in touch.  Follow their company on social media and in the news and congratulate them on their successes.  Let them know when you release new products and new features.  If they are satisfied with you, they will want to continue doing business with you.


Do you have any sure-fire tips on building sales relationships? Share them below!

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