We all want a tighter relationship with our clients, because developing strong business relationships is what allows everyone to benefit.

You will benefit.

Your client will benefit.

So how do you do that?!  How do you develop those stronger relationships?

Here are specific things you can do to take those relationships to a level where a client is much more likely to call upon you and see you as a valuable resource.

1. Get them out of their office.

Take them to lunch. By getting them out of the office and into a more casual setting, you will be able to have a discussion that is not as focused around the business.  When you take them to lunch, be sure to travel in the same car to give you that much more time to talk.

2. Learn as much as possible about their family.

Many times the client you’re trying to get to know won’t always be forthcoming with sharing information about their family.

Take what you can by listening for short comments they make and then asking a question to get them to share more.  Using this technique requires you to be engaged and sincere about the topic of conversation.

Another approach is to make a brief comment about something in your personal life, as this can be a good way to break the ice.

3. Uncover one personal interest they have that you too have.

Use that common interest as a springboard for starting additional conversations and as reasons to send an email or leave a voice mail.

4. Engage with them even though you’re not there.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to connect with them via the telephone after a sporting event involving their favorite team or to find out how one of their children did in a particular event.

5. Send them links to websites or send them information they may find of value that relates to something they do away from work.

6. Bring food the next time you visit the customer.

It’s always amazing how a few cookies or food of any type can open up a relationship.

7. Be positive!

Nobody likes to associate with negative people.  Make sure all of your conversations and your body language are positive.

8. Never speak negatively of anyone regardless of whether they work for the customer or somewhere else.

Talking about others in a negative manner will only serve to have the person wondering what you might be saying about them to someone else.

9. Connect with the client via Linkedin, Facebook, Google+ or any other social media site. (Make sure everything on your site is professional and is something you would not object to your mother or children reading.)

10. Allow the client to see you as a person who is engaging and caring.

Nobody likes to deal with a “salesperson.” They want to deal with people who they see as like them or as they would like to be.

11. Don’t make excuses or pass responsibility in any of your comments.

Accept full control and be viewed as a leader.

(I know — I promised you 23 in the headline.  Hold on.  Part 2 with the remaining 12 will be coming soon!)

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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