Someone asked me the other day, “Why build a relationship with customers when you can just sell to them?”
I asked this person how much money they’re making selling online.
And their answer was nothing.
True, they haven’t even put up their first website yet. They have no list and no products.
But they’re sure that you need not build a relationship with prospects–just put your links out there and people will buy.
To quickly gain credibility and establish yourself as a trusted advisor, the very first thing you should do is add value to your prospect’s life. That might mean reaching out with some helpful suggestions, sending them links to relevant content, making a valuable introduction, or anything else that benefits them.
I asked this person why they don’t do that on social media–just post links to products and make sales.
And I loved their answer: “Oh yeah, I’ve been doing that. I’ve posted a half dozen different links, probably 20 times each.”
“And how many sales did you make from that?” I queried.
“None yet, but I expect the sales will start rolling in any day now.”
As they say, “Good luck with that.”
Connect with your audience to build a relationship
Imagine for a moment that you’re surfing online. Maybe you’re on social media, or a blog, or where ever. You see a link. You click the link. And you take it to a sales page.
What do you do? 9 out of 10 people will click away within seconds.
The other person may be checks it out for a moment and then leaves.
Now imagine you’ve been following this person online. You like them. They’re interesting, entertaining, and most of all they give you good information.
One day they recommend a product. And because you know, like, and trust this person, you check it out. You like what you see. And hey, it’s recommended by someone you trust, so you buy it.
Big difference, right?
Now the question is, how do you build rapport with your audience?
It’s not by throwing affiliate links between them. At least, not right away. True, you can try to upsell them when they fill out your squeeze page form. It’s a good way to monetize your list building, so it pays for itself.
But most people won’t buy yet because they don’t know you yet.
How to make an impression in relationship building
That’s why you want to send them to a blog post or “about me” page that tells them about you, your lifestyle, and what you believe.
Your goal is to resonate with your new subscribers or at least some of them. You’ll repel some, too, but that’s okay. It’s all about building your tribe–find the people who will follow you and love you and your content and yes, your recommendations, too.
Something like, “This ‘salesperson’ is trying to sell me on why what they offer is better, but I hate feeling as if I’m being sold.” Rather than defending yourself, try suggesting that you will not try to convince them of anything because that would only create sales pressure. Instead, ask them about the key problems that they are trying to solve, and then explore how your product or service might solve those problems without ever trying to persuade. Let potential clients feel that they can choose you without feeling “sold.”
This proves you’re paying attention and truly care. Then show empathy with something like, “I hear what you’re saying, and that completely makes sense. Can I ask a few follow-up questions?”
You might think of relationship selling as an enterprise B2B strategy, and that’s not wrong. Any rep working a $50,000+ deal is probably using relationship selling techniques — think a salesperson for corporate hiring software or a customized HR app.
Offer more value than selling
I’ve seen some marketers hit their new subscribers with a page full of their products. WHAM! It’s like a slap in the face. “Now that I’ve got you here, I want you to BUY BUY BUY!”
Which is a superb way to get your new subscriber to RUN, RUN, RUN.
Do you know how to sell $3,000 a month coaching?
Sell them a $10 ebook. Follow up with amazing content. Sell them a $50 product that blows them away. Spend a few weeks or months showing that you are the person they can get to know, like, and TRUST.
Then present your $3,000 coaching program, and you won’t even need a sales letter.
“Hey folks, I’m opening my coaching to 3 new clients. Here’s where you sign up.”
Yes, it works. Like gangbusters. And yes, you’re taking the long view approach, but it’s the method that works, so why not?
Or, you could just throw out handfuls of affiliate links and hope that eventually someone buys something.