How to Make a Personal Connection with Customers

Personal Connection to CustomerIt isn’t always enough to create and promote an outstanding product or service. Often, your sales approach matters just as much as what you’re selling. The most successful entrepreneurs create a connection with the customer by bringing their own personal touch to the sales process.

People buy from people they can relate to. When business owners skip out on that personal connection, they could very easily lose that prospective customer to another company, and quite possibly, one who took the time to create a relationship toward helping that prospect buy something rather than trying to just make the sale.

Here are seven tips on salesmanship that can help you develop that special rapport with potential customers:

Do as Mom & Pop would do.
If you long for the days of shopping at a local business where the owner knew your name and your family, try to emulate that experience in your own business, whatever type it may be. Remember one or two details about your customer and bring them up in conversation. For instance, if you know a customer has a son looking at colleges, ask for an update. People like to feel important, and it truly is the little things that count. Remembering little details about your customers will put you on the fast track to being viewed as a person who values them as a human being and not as a dollar sign.

Ask first, sell second.
Before you launch into a hard sell, do a little digging with your prospect. Ask some open ended questions that will allow your customer to explain what he’s looking for. Once you know that information, it’s much simpler to show how your product or service can satisfy his wants or needs. Asking the right questions is critical to relationship building, and the more skilled you are at utilizing open and closed ended questions, the stronger the relationship you will be able to create.

Master the art of courtship.
Selling is a lot like dating in that you have to woo customers and hope they return the attention. “Figure that for every 10 people you want to reach out to, three will want to set up appointments to hear more about your product,” says Mark Faust, author of Growth or Bust! Proven Turnaround Strategies to Grow Your Business.

Master the art of listening.
There’s nothing more insulting than feeling that you’re being ignored in a conversation. Asking someone a question and actually listening to the response, rather than formulating a response while the other person is speaking, is so important. In fact, small business owners may have a distinct advantage in connecting with customers because they are in touch with them so often.

Hit the pavement.
While it’s often much quicker and less stressful to email a potential customer, face-to-face meetings and networking are far more effective in creating meaningful connections. The internet and cell phones have broadened the playing field in terms of being able to access a further reaching pool of prospective customers, but the face-to-face meeting is still among the best ways for your business to establish relationships with decision makers.

Above all, be patient.
Good things come to those who wait, and like many important things in life, it takes patience to wait and develop lasting customer relationships. Fight the urge to hurry the process along. Take the time to explain how your product or service will benefit your prospective customer. Be patient as you go about cultivating this new contact. You never want to make a prospect feel rushed or hustled.