So many times salespeople and small business owners develop a sales process that is more about system than about connection. In my estimation there are many problems with this. We are experiencing a hyper-competitive economy right now. That is not likely to change any time soon.

So what do we do? Rise to the occasion!

When we view sales as relationship building it changes our approach. Really getting to know our clients and customers provides us with a leg up on the competition. When WE are the people helping our clients solve problems, we gain armor against invaders.

Here are some things we can all do to improve our business growth:

1. Go Deep
Make sure you get to know more than one person in the client organization. This helps to safeguard you against the peril of your contact leaving the company. This is something that happens all the time. You build a great relationship with one person and suddenly you find out they are gone. Now what do you do? You start all over again. When you get to know more people within the client organization the impact is not as heavy.

It also helps you find out if there are more opportunities there for you. Some people only pay attention to what goes on in their department. Knowing more people gives you the opportunity to learn more about the client, and uncover business you weren’t aware of.

2. Care
This may sound strange but it holds a lot of weight. When you care about the success of the client company you increase your value to them. Meeting with them in person or on the phone just to talk and find out how they are doing can work wonders for your business relationship. When you are doing this you can find out about other needs they have. Through your network you can provide your client with possible solutions to those needs. Imagine how valuable you would become if you were your client’s ‘go to’ person.

Not only should you care about the company, but you should care about the people. Getting to know your contacts on a deeper level puts you in a position where they are more likely to tell you what’s really going on. Once you’ve gained their trust they are less likely to vanish suddenly. Moreover, these relationships help you know what’s going on in the client’s company. If things are heading south, you want to know. If they are growing, moving, changing, you want to know this as well.

3. Go The Extra Mile
Are there added value items you could be providing to your clients? I’m sure there are and I suggest you find them. This economy has put us all in a position where our competition is aggressive. We have to differentiate ourselves to increase our value. Providing outstanding customer service, going above and beyond, reaching out to them instead of waiting for them to contact you, are all ways you can become more valuable to your clients. If you are distant and appear uninterested, you are sending the wrong message. You are opening the door for your competition to come walking in.

If there’s an extra service you can provide, one that doesn’t cost you too much, do it. Studies have been done that suggest ‘free shipping’ is a motivator to buy. It’s more of a motivator than a discount. Understanding your client and providing them with something extra makes them feel valued.

We’re not talking about anything extreme or expensive; just some simple, old fashioned attention to your clients and their needs. It may take up some of your time but I ask you – would you rather spend your time interacting with your current clients, or seeking out new ones? Nurture the relationships you already have. Give your clients another reason to keep you onboard. You’ll find they refer you more often as well.

Author's Bio: 

Diane Helbig is an internationally recognized business and leadership development coach, author, speaker, and radio show host. As a certified, professional coach, president of Seize This Day Coaching, Diane helps businesses and organizations operate more constructively and profitably. Diane is the author of Lemonade Stand Selling, and the host of Accelerate Your Business Growth Radio show. She is also a Service Provider for Constant Contact.