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How to build sales relationships

Aktualisiert: 13. Okt. 2022

Even though you might think that the most convincing product is what wins out in a selling situation, in most cases, it is not. Often, it is not about the perfect strategy – but about the relationship building in sales and the positive effect it has on your interaction.

Of course, we would love to connect well with every client, but, unfortunately, we cannot always sell to someone who aligns greatly with our character. So how can we still form an adequate bond with someone - especially when the sales cycle is short and persistent closes are important?

Pay attention to the client and the things around them.

Quite an easy way to make an impact with a person is to comment on something they´re doing or maybe even wearing. A common example for this would be to compliment them on a remarkable sweater. The purpose of this is to build a human connection with the client, apart from the business context. Remember not only to be appreciative, but especially authentic – you don´t want to say something and not mean it.

Try to forget about selling

Also, during these conversations, try to forget about selling. What happens often is if you keep thinking about how to close your sale, your voice and body language change noticeably and might reveal your true intentions – especially, when someone familiar with your habits notices. That also applies to your writing style; an insincere tone in text can get across and attract suspicion.

Buyer Persona

Maybe you think of this as a small talk – but let us assure you, it isn’t. Every piece of information you can get about your client will help you in future conversations. So, if you talk about, let´s say, their favorite movie or their recent family meeting, you secretly get new research material on the buyer persona. It would be even better if you spoke about a mutual passion – but if not, try to be as interested in the topic as you can. We love to talk about what moves us – and you never know when you can re-use this kind of information in the future.

Play the long game.

As we´ve established before, even some of the most present figures in today´s media talk about how they´ve built long-lasting connections over time. Often, their tactic revolves around talking to sources about issues that may have nothing to do with the news stories. We want to apply this exact strategy for building sales relationships.

Building sales relationships.

Try to think about the following – what email will strike your attention more – the one that you get with a sales pitch or the one that contains an interesting article or a humorous (but work-appropriate) meme? Or if you look on Instagram – who are you more likely to follow; the influencer who shows their nuanced but imperfect life or the one who will only post their best vacation pictures?

Communication and connection are about balance.

As you see, communication and connection are about balance. You don´t want to bore your opponent with the same business-talk over and over again – but you also don’t want to seem unprofessional and overshare about your personal life. It is about how you choose to present yourself – in a professional, but also private context.

Provide positive, genuine service.

Keep in mind – the people you support will trust you way more. However, as a salesperson, you won´t come far by just being helpful and honest. You also have to avoid negativity as much as you can.

Avoid negativity

Let´s use the following example: say you´re a sales rep for Dual Gigabytes Computers, which focuses on business computers. The biggest rival of this company is Triad Systems, which has an upstanding reputation and market share. However, they have problems with hard drive failure rates after three to five years. A second competitor sets foot into the business – New Tech. They use the fastest and best technology, but haven’t established a high, long-lasting position yet.


Now one of your oldest clients admits that they are switching to either of your competitors. You can approach this situation in two ways:

  1. You make fun of New Tech for being new to the business and talk badly about Triad for their short hard drive lifespan.

  2. You argue that if your client decides to switch to Triad, they will have to consider getting several hard drive backups and replacing them every few years; if they go with New Tech, they must expect a higher risk of failure as New Tech is a young company.

Bitter loser vs. long-lasting connection

The first scenario portrays you as the bitter loser in the sales situation. The second one ends in the same way – you probably won´t succeed – but at least the client will recall your words and return to your company if their new sales relationship doesn´t work out. Also, they will probably still recommend your company to others, as they have worked with you for years and been satisfied your work ethic. This grants you a position and connection no amount of money or PR spin can buy.

The little details matter

We know best that building relationships in sales can be very testing and time-consuming. But as you notice little details about your customer´s life, take care of them by asking and conversing and are open and proactive about what fits them best, you can establish a long-lasting connection with them – with your direct prospect or with someone they have recommended you to.

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