Published On: Wed, Jun 1st, 2011

Relationship Building

By: Gerald J. Sherman

You made the deal and you think it’s all over. No, no, no, no, no!

Do you think you might want to continue doing business with this person or organization? Do you think their friends or business associates might be interested in your product/service? Do you think that they will give you a referral or recommendation?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, your job is not over. In fact, it might be just the beginning. This is where a good relationship is needed, a good foundation on which to do more business and a chance to get to know each other better.

Be a Team Member

You must understand that the person wanting your product/service really wants more than that. They want you to be a team member. They are hoping to do business with an ethical person and one who has integrity. They want to feel secure in knowing that you will do and deliver whatever was promised, whether it be standing behind the product/service or solving a problem should one develop.

Relationship Building

Building a relationship can start in many ways. Sometimes, but not very often, the seller and buyer just click. It’s kind of like love at first sight. It’s very rare, but has been known to happen.

Establishing a successful relationship usually requires a lot more work, planning and willingness. Sometimes, you can develop a relationship based on something you both have in common. You both love to watch basketball and enjoy talking to each other about the event and players. Or, you might work on developing a good relationship by sending ‘thank you’ notes. Other possibilities are:

·      Sending reminders about something that was discussed or requested

·      Calling on the phone to check on the service/product they received

·      Revisiting the clients to check up on their needs

·      Sometimes even bringing to the client’s office coffee and bagels or lunch, (a popular practice with pharmaceutical companies, detail reps and doctors offices).

All of these are ways to get to know each other. Once the sale is made or the order is signed, the buyer/seller relationship is on its way.

Never forget how important your client’s staff is. Getting to know and showing respect for your client’s personnel can help you obtain a better dialogue with the ultimate decision maker. After all, they may hold the key to opening the door.

Excerpts from the book, The Real World Guide to Fashion Selling & Management, Gerald J. Sherman & Sar S. Perlman, Fairchild Publications, Division of Conde Nast.

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