How Do You Gain from Relationship Selling?

By John R. Aberle | Relationship Selling

Feb 12

When Frank Robertson started into sales, he believed that he was a natural born salesman because he was well liked by people he met. He was right but only on a superficial level. After dozens of rejections, he started to realize that maybe he wasn’t a natural born salesman after all. That’s when he started reading up about selling and began attending courses.

Graphic of the Relationship Selling Sales Cycle

What a lot to learn! He soon found that he wasn’t comfortable with the message of many of the leading sales trainers who taught method to control customers. Their approaches were highly manipulative and felt much like combat with the successful “closer” being the victor. 

 Sales Relationships with Customers Require More than a Thermometer

The worst course was one in which a former vacuum cleaner sales person taught his system of getting so many yeses that he built up the momentum and pressure in prospects. He likened it to a thermometer with each yes being a degree. Finally they were hot enough that they couldn’t say no when he closed.

Sales Courses Emerged without the Hard Sell

Gradually, light began to fall into the dark reaches of sales training. Dale Carnegie taught a course on how to use questions in sales calls. Xerox had a course on Professional Selling Skills. Then someone brought a consultative approach to sales calls. Harvey Mackay came out with his first book, Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive. These approaches were more about working with the customers and guiding them than about manipulating them.

As he assimilated these different courses and combined it with his experiences in selling, he found himself developing his own approach that relied on asking questions to uncover what his prospects wanted and felt they needed. He built a relationship with them where they trusted him because he listened. As he skipped the manipulations, they realized he cared about them, not just about “closing the sale.” Frank served first, sold second. He successfully helped customers buy.

Advantages for the Small Business

In time, he learned that this kind of caring and service based sales is known as relationship selling. Other names that evolved were called soft sell (as opposed to hard sell) and heart-centered selling. Frank found by connecting with customers through this approach, he increased the average customer value. This happens for several reasons:

  • Customers enjoyed the relationship so wanted to buy from him, often buying more
  • They bought again and again
  • Customers tended to be more loyal

 While customer loyalty today is harder to develop because of the incredible amount of competition, customers choose where to buy for far more reasons than lowest price. They prefer going back to buy from people they like and trust. They like buying where they are comfortable and feel appreciated. Searching for a new vendor is frustrating and time consuming.  Building those relationships when selling can make an immense difference in your customers’ lifetime value.


Book Cover for How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses

To read more about how to apply relationship selling to your business so you too can enjoy greater lifetime customer value and long term, mutually rewarding business connections, buy your copy of How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses now.

Open your heart in selling,


John R. Aberle

P.S. Do you love taking care of your customers and prospects? If you yearn to build more long-term business connections withyour customers, get your copy of the newly revised, expanded and updated Amazon Kindle eBook – intro price only $.99:How Relationship Selling Rewards Small Businesses

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About the Author

I have a strong love for small businesses, especially brick and mortar companies. After an 18-year career in sales and marketing, I started my own service company, which I grew in both sales and profits for the first five years. In my sixth year, the bottom dropped out of the printer market such that it made more sense to sell my assets and return to Southern California. There I went to work for an international small business consulting company. I spent over three years on the road with them helping small businesses to become more profitable and better managed. I then started my own company specializing in sales and marketing consulting, coaching and training. My emphasis is on heart-centered, relationship selling that empowers prospects to make their own choices.