If you want your clients to truly value you, you need to be their trusted advisor. This way.

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Does the old school sales strategy still work in a new school world? Technology has enhanced many aspects of the sales process by helping to connect customers to companies around the world that best fit their needs. But simply providing a product that meets a specific need is not a guarantee of continued business with that customer. A sales strategy based solely on price and product will never be as successful as a long-term, relationship-building strategy that helps the customer achieve their goals.

In relationship sales, the salesperson focuses on the personal relationship with the customer versus the emphasis on the price or description of the product. To bring the relationship selling strategy to the present, let’s name it the “trusted advisor” strategy. A credible mentoring strategy provides insight and thought leadership. It’s less about sales than about building a relationship with the client. This usually involves a longer sales cycle and building relationships and trust with the customer. In countries like Japan, business etiquette is a complex combination of rules, customs and traditions designed to build trust and respect. In the United States, rapport is built on actively listening, showing empathy, being authentic, and talking about something other than the task at hand 10 minutes before a meeting.

Active Listening and Empathy Builds Strong Relationships

Active listening may not seem like the best strategy for a fast-paced salesperson, but asking informed questions and listening to answers will help you understand what a customer’s real needs are and determine an appropriate solution.

In addition to active listening, we need empathy to determine the best solutions for our customers. Empathy is “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” By treating our customers with empathy, we gain a better understanding of their ideas and motivations. We can offer unique solutions for their evolving needs. Empathy builds trust and fosters strong relationships. Don’t be afraid to share your vulnerability as it makes you trustworthy and helps customers see who you are.

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Establish yourself as an industry expert

Know your industry inside and out so that you are on top when someone looks for an industry expert. One of the tenets of my company is “Stay Agile, Never Stop Learning.” In the SEO industry, algorithms are constantly changing, so we must stay ahead of the game. Make sure your company offers continuing education programs and recognizes people who make an effort to keep learning and growing.

When asked to give a speech, say yes. This will help build your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. If you don’t have opportunities to speak yet, you can record a quick video offering the nuggets of wisdom and share it on your social media channels. I like to make quick, one-minute reels of me talking about whatever is motivating me that day.

Be flexible, and review your system regularly. As your business grows, you will need to adapt and make changes to meet the new demands. Build better processes, hire good leadership and invest in training. Your customers will notice and appreciate your efforts to continuously improve and serve them better.

I recently did a survey on LinkedIn asking how the company’s ideal customer finds them. Word of mouth came at number one. Even in the digital world, personal relationships and brand loyalty remain the most important factors in acquiring new business. It takes hard work to build a positive brand image. There is a lot of misinformation out there – myths are repeated so they become “true” and no effort is made to verify their veracity. If you can combat that misinformation by educating clients, using case studies, sharing best practices, conducting webinars, and talking about your processes and ethics, you can serve as a trusted advisor to your clients. I will build reputation.

Tell your name by answering the questions

Suggesting and answering questions on forums like Quora and Reddit can be a helpful way to get your name out there as a subject matter expert. Do some research and find out what questions your customers are asking, and spend time preparing informative answers. i also recommend HARO, help a reporterA site that connects journalists looking for experts for their stories to sources who have that expertise.

In another LinkedIn poll, I asked clients what factors create trust and what they want from the firms they want to work with. His number one answer was transparency. Transparency means sharing information and accountability throughout your organization. It also means having systems and policies that support that transparency. We try to have a blame-free culture in our company to encourage employees to take some risks and understand that failure is part of the learning process. When a mistake occurs in an open and transparent company, it is acknowledged and then procedures are put in place so that it does not happen again.

Authenticity is one of the most important ways to develop trust. Sharing your personal stories, both the good and the bad, will help customers see you as a real person rather than someone on the other end of the Zoom call.

Never stop learning, establish yourself as an industry expert through continuing education, then share that knowledge with others by answering questions on various forums or speaking at industry events. Add value by offering pieces of knowledge on your social media channels. Be an active listener. Ask informed questions so customers are heard. Put yourself in your customer’s place so that you can better understand their problems and offer unique solutions. What strategies can you start today to start transitioning into a trusted advisor role?

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