The Impact of Relationships on Sales Pipelines
5 Step Example of Relationship Development
What's a step anyway? If it takes 10 business networking meetings before two people finally talk about their businesses and potential improvements, that's ten steps.
Here's a better 5 step example:
You drop off your partner at a networking meeting and when you're back to pick up, Charlie Grant introduces himself. Should he tell your partner that you're waiting? Nice guy.
You're on LinkedIn and in the "people you may know" is Charlies photo. You tell your partner but they've only exchanged pleasantries and business cards. Your partner remembers that you spoke to Charlie at networking so you should invite him and keep building your network. Charlie accepts and remembers you. He asks if you thought of being a visitor at networking so you could arrive and leave with your partner.
You're at a presentation and people are networking after the speeches. You step into a circle of people and Charlie is opposite. He smiles, steps forward to shake hands and introduces you to the group. Later he says his associate, Jonathan, was looking to fill a spot from your industry on a panel of speakers at an event for 40 people. If you would like an introduction he can email Jonathan your details so you give Charlie your card. Jonathan makes contact, you meet him and you speak at the event.
You posted on social media about your speaking event and shared it to Charlie. He commented, apologising for not being there but heard that you handled it as a professional.
You're planning a dinner for friends in business and your partner asks if it would be an idea to ask Charlie. You agree and at dinner, Charlie says he's looking to contract someone with your expertise into a project and would you be interested in submitting a proposal? You thank him and have the proposal in early the following week. You were already on his shortlist and you won the contract with your presentation.
Steps 5 to 9
Research by Microsoft indicates that many businesses will only make the initial new customer contact and 1 follow up, but if you're not a qualified prospect, then that's the end. Businesses that go through 3 or 4 steps with you and don't see a sale may delete you from their database. Few will stay for steps 5 to 9 and that's where business is available with little or no competition.
In the example above, the relationship has time to develop so you can like and trust each other before doing business together. If a customer is already getting quotes at step 1 or 2, then go with that.
I've had 300 relationships under management in my database at once. Some develop quickly, others need time. The database reminds you of your obligations to people, when you should be contacting them and it holds the customers notes.
New online techniques let you develop relationships and manage sales with very large numbers of people. Relationship development adds to your sales pipeline. More relationships mean more sales pipeline growth by using the existing technology and being open to the new methods. Advantage you!