Relationship Selling - a Combination of Empathy and Problem Solving

Wednesday, October 05, 2016David Ehrlich
Creating and delivering value to your prospects and customers is what relationship selling is about. It requires mutual trust between the parties – the purchaser believing that the salesperson is telling the truth and proposing a service of genuine value to the buyer; the salesperson believing that the purchaser will ultimately reward him for his honesty, diligence, and work on the purchaser’s behalf.

Not everyone is born with a personality that allows them to easily meet and captivate people. Some of us are more reserved, even timid, when meeting new people. However, even the shyest among us can build close and long-term relationships – not being what we’re not, but by being who we are. It is not a person’s ability to make people laugh, but their willingness to be honest and share themselves that enables a lasting, trusting relationship.

While relationships can develop quickly, they rarely blossom overnight. Trusting relationships usually require face-to-face meetings. Most People generally require visual cues before deciding how we feel about another person. For example, we are generally wary of telephone salespeople or email solicitations because we lack visual feedback to confirm their legitimacy. We evaluate people through a variety of ways. Our appearance, facial expression, verbal tones, and mannerisms generate an initial impression, which we either reinforce or replace over time with our actions.

Empathy is the ability to step into the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. It’s believed that we all have a natural tendency to empathize. However, it is a tendency that must be nurtured, a skill to be learned and improved upon all of one’s life if it is to be fully developed.

Why is empathy important in relationship selling? As a salesperson, it is impossible to solve a problem or create delight in your customer’s mind if you do not understand what he or she is feeling or what their day-to-day world looks like. While empathy is difficult to fake, it can be developed and practiced. Effective listening is an important component of empathy, as well as vulnerability. Revealing our own feelings, sharing stories of common experience, and finding shared interests are vital to creating trust, mutual understanding, and an empathetic bond.

Relationship selling involves a combination of empathy and problem solving. While empathy allows you to better understand your customer’s problems, the ability to provide credible solutions to those problems. In conclusion, be yourself, keep it simple and know your service or product. Avoid being a robot in your delivery. Listen, listen, and listen to your prospect or client and the conversation will take a natural flow.

About the Author

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David Ehrlich
National Sales Director

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