Make personal connections

To remain competitive in a world with lots of alternative purchasing channels, you need to know your customer. I advise management and employees to practice what Stephen Covey describes in his book, The 8th Habit, from Effectiveness to Greatness. Covey writes “The 8th Habit gives you a mind-set and a skill-set to constantly look for the potential in people… we must learn to listen to our clients and fellow employees.” When we do this, we “indirectly affirm people’s worth as whole people and empower the unleashing of their potential.” In this way you are able to establish personal connections with clients. These connections enable you to find the right solution for the customer, one tailored to his needs.

Four ways to connect

Here are four ways to know your customer and strengthen your personal connections.

  • Clarity – To know the customer’s goals or priorities, it is imperative to ask clarifying questions. These questions are best posed in person so you can read your client’s body language.
  • Commitment – Whether selling or leading others, you need to project commitment through your emotional energy for the task at hand. If your commitment is strong, the client or team member will pick up on that positive energy and be more willing to embrace your proposals.
  • Translation – Be sure you are asking the right questions, ones that reveal your prospect’s wants and needs. Translate these responses into solutions that match the needs of your customer.  Remember, to accomplish your goals, they must first be relevant to the goals of your customer.
  • Trust – Unless you have the genuine involvement of the strategic decision-maker, particularly regarding his values and line-of-sight priorities, you won’t be successful. Only by making a sufficient emotional connection with the client will you gain the kind of trust that enables you to close deals.

Finding balance

Focus your attention on the people you work for and with. Selling and leadership has been, is, and will continue to be about making personal connections. Find an effective balance between the use of the latest digital technology and your innate people skills. A vital component of that equation is knowing your customer and the added-values that contribute to his goals and priorities.

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