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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hey all.. guest post from Joanne Black today on the importance of building relationships with your customers. This is not only a core marketing principle but essential for anyone looking to make the most of a down economy.

Yes, the economy is lagging and budgets are cut. Yes, we have competition. Yes, clients are postponing buying decisions. So what?

If you focus on building relationships and implement the sales strategies I reveal here, you'll be able to close more deals and get more sales now. People will buy from you even in a lagging economy -- no matter what your price point.

3 Ways to Get In, Get Started, and Close More Deals

Sales Closing Tip 1: Recommend New Approaches

Good salespeople have always talked about creating value. Now we need to put ourselves in our clients' shoes and be creative. We must get in and get started. Think smart, not big. It's always smarter to have a smaller piece of something, than a big piece of nothing. Begin with a smaller project, a reduced order, or a regional, rather than global, implementation. Get in, and get to know the client. Let them get to know you. Get to know their business.

Sales Closing Tip 2: Create Metrics

Sit on the same side of the table as your client. Work together to determine the best way to get started. Always, always, create metrics with your client. How do you, together, define success? Get agreement that once this project is successful--according to the metrics you've agreed upon--that the client will work with you to identify other sales opportunities within their organization. A successful project breeds a successful relationship, which leads to successful referrals. This means more sales leads and more money for you!

Sales Closing Tip 3: Negotiate or Walk

Yes, the client will want to negotiate on price. That's their job--to build business while watching the bottom line. How many times have you submitted a sales proposal to a client, and had them say, right off the bat, "Great! Where do I sign?" It doesn't happen. We always want to get the best deal, so why wouldn't our clients? If you must adjust your price, then adjust the scale of your project or the deliverables as well. Always get something in return and write it into your agreement.

Maybe the client agrees to write a testimonial or promises to refer you to another business unit in their organization, or to someone they know at a different company. Maybe you barter some of your services. Bartering is an age-old way of doing business, and it makes sense in many cases if you want what they have and they need what you have. Perhaps the client has software that your company needs, or a consulting methodology that could propel your business. You get the picture. Work it out. If you can't work things out, be willing to walk away. It's a tough decision, but it may be your best strategic sales decision. You'll be off to the next client who values what you offer and is willing to pay for it.

If you follow my advice in this article , you will build lifetime customer relationships with clients who want to buy from you over and over again even in a lagging economy. You will get more referrals. And, you will close more sales. So, what are you waiting for? Get in and get started now!

America's leading authority on referral selling and founder of No More Cold Calling®, Joanne Black helps salespeople, sales teams, and business owners get more referrals and attract business fast without increasing the cost of sales. Discover how to turn prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time even in a lagging economy with her No More Cold Calling sales programs at


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