Question for people who sell in smaller niches...

17 replies
Well I own a local business, and I'd like to know... I see so many people talk about transactional selling..

But at what point do you try and build relationships with people? And what are some of the things you do to build these relationships?
#niches #people #question #sell #smaller
  • Profile picture of the author jimbo13
    So if you have a shop would you not chat to me when I come in?

    Would you not chat to me when I am at the desk for at least two minutes paying and you doing the till and bagging up bit?

    Hairdressers, barbers all do it. Taxi drivers do it.

    Just chat to people. Nothing more complicated than that.

    By the way. You product, service. Me money. Transaction has to occur.

    Do you have transactional sex?

    No need to label things.

    Dan
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  • Profile picture of the author usemyteam
    You need to reach out and start small conversations. That is the one solution.
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  • Profile picture of the author Claude Whitacre
    Originally Posted by Luis Michael Orts View Post

    Well I own a local business, and I'd like to know... I see so many people talk about transactional selling..

    But at what point do you try and build relationships with people? And what are some of the things you do to build these relationships?
    What Jimbo said. It isn't a separate process. It's just how you treat people. Treat them better than they expect to be treated, and they will spread the word.

    And if you treat them worse than they expect to be treated, they spread the word....faster.

    The only time I do transnational selling, is when cold calling...looking for the person with the immediate need.

    Personal selling is a combination of transaction, and relationships. Just be a good guy. Treat them well, like you would a friend.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    Besides getting to know them, I do things at my hotel like show them other rooms
    they might like better, offer a repeat customer discount (If I like them and know they won't
    expect the off season rate in prime season or otherwise be a jerk), find some events or
    activities they did not know about that they would enjoy, tell them about a certain dish
    at a restaurant.

    Just thoughtful touches based upon getting to know them and their friends and family situations
    and rewarding their customer loyalty.

    Dan
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    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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  • Profile picture of the author Khemosabi
    Right now, most of my local clients are simply advertisers on my websites. I have a few bigger clients that I still do business with, but I went in a different direction with my business. That being said:

    I treat all of my clients like friends. Establishing a relationship is tantamount in this business, especially now. So many marketers out there are just calling and pitching. That doesn't work anymore. It especially doesn't work with "local" people. Why? They don't TRUST YOU!

    I deal with a lot of local businesses. Many of them are real estate Brokers. Their attitude is they know better, period. I get "defensive" as the first reaction anytime I call someone new. Many of them are struggling and they know I want them to spend money!... and that's just with a simple "hello". Seriously, they're always on their guard.

    To answer your question, you begin to build it right away. If you're asking about people that come into your local business, you should be establishing "welcome" right away. Names, give em yours, get theirs. Remember them!

    Your question is sort of vague, but I think a lot more people here are willing to help you if you're more specific about what you're asking. I know I am.

    The above posts are spot on. You don't need to be best friends with someone, but you'd really be surprised at how much of an effect you have if you just treat someone like a person you'd like to know! And really, why wouldn't you if you're wanting them to be a customer?

    ~ Theresa
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  • You know, maybe I should re-word my question.... Here it goes.

    I own a business where the sales cycle is, in my opinion, a little longer than most. We're talking about getting people to take large commitments, for longer periods of time, for more than what a basic transaction may be.

    And I suppose I'm not sure how to handle the longer sales process in which you have to develop SERIOUS trust, and finding ways to differentiate my service from my competitors services.
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    • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
      Originally Posted by Luis Michael Orts View Post

      You know, maybe I should re-word my question.... Here it goes.

      I own a business where the sales cycle is, in my opinion, a little longer than most. We're talking about getting people to take large commitments, for longer periods of time, for more than what a basic transaction may be.

      And I suppose I'm not sure how to handle the longer sales process in which you have to develop SERIOUS trust, and finding ways to differentiate my service from my competitors services.
      That is called a long sales cycle.

      So instead of the mechanics of how to keep in touch,
      you work on creating desire.

      It starts with you knowing and telling their known problem
      better than anybody else. Or it could be about their
      unmet desires.

      Then you have to come up with a new twist on
      so it get's them to sit up and take notice.

      You keep their attention by using emotion and logic
      to prove your premise is right.

      Part of that is taking out alternatives in a very
      logical way, just as a trial attorney would do.

      What you offer then becomes the only viable choice.

      Without knowing your market and the level of knowedge
      they have about the solutions available, it's not possible
      to come up with that right message.

      However there is definitely proven structures to
      get the message right. They will always be revalant
      no matter what takes place in your market.

      Best,
      Doctor E. Vile

      This is all before you bring up your product or service.
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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by Luis Michael Orts View Post

      You know, maybe I should re-word my question.... Here it goes.

      I own a business where the sales cycle is, in my opinion, a little longer than most. We're talking about getting people to take large commitments, for longer periods of time, for more than what a basic transaction may be.

      And I suppose I'm not sure how to handle the longer sales process in which you have to develop SERIOUS trust, and finding ways to differentiate my service from my competitors services.
      Why would/should people make large commitments, for longer periods of time, with you rather than a
      competitor?
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      "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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  • Profile picture of the author NeedBucksNow
    If you go the extra mile to help somebody they will usually remember who you are and may even come back later because of it. I know that's how I usually am with people 2
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  • I feel a little clearer now...

    I tend to over-analyze things! Time to get to work. lol
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    • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
      Originally Posted by Luis Michael Orts View Post

      I feel a little clearer now...

      I tend to over-analyze things! Time to get to work. lol
      As you master your knowledge of products/services and your customers
      and their concerns and their markets, you get to the point where you can
      say "Ya know a lot of people in your field find that our 'x' helps them __________
      when they apply it this way." Or, "Do this and this before you install
      and it will go much smoother." Or, "Take this trouble shooting step before you
      replace that motor, and it might be that you don't have to replace the motor just yet."

      Expertise, relationship, caring, helpfulness... can/should be part of your competitive
      advantage.

      I need a hot tub repaired, who am I likely to hire? The shop who has me try some things
      before they come out, or the shop who seems to just want to come replace the most
      expensive parts without diagnosis. Or, how about the auto repair shop that tells me I need to
      replace a part just because of the mileage on the vehicle - without bothering to ask me if
      I had it replaced recently.
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  • Hey guys, just to let you know... the book I was looking for to further expand your thoughts was just laying over in "Spin Selling".

    That's exactly what I needed to read.

    With that being said, would any of you say these sales processes can be shortened any?

    I run two businesses... One of them being complete exterior services for commercial facilities (in which some of the niches are one call closers, like restaurants, and others are longer like office buildings and parking garages)

    and the other is web design (which when I get the hang of SEO and PPC, I will also offer as well!)
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    • Profile picture of the author savidge4
      Why do I always feel the odd ball in the bunch?

      Transactional selling is where the money is at. McDonalds comes to mind... WalMart... Overstock.com... Target... your local chain grocery... These are ALL transactional models.

      I personally... develop relationships in my selling... its my "Style". and again the flipside of that is I develop Transactional selling machines for my clients. THAT is my "style".

      There are 2 factors that I think get confused, those being "Trust" and a "Relationship" Getting on the phone for 20 minutes and developing "Trust" is NOT relationship building. When was the last time you had lunch with someone you sold something to on a cold call or in your store?

      Trust is a qualifying step to building a relationship.

      Trust is a qualifying step to making a sale.

      The "relationship" in my eyes, is what happens AFTER the sale.
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      Success is an ACT not an idea
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  • Profile picture of the author Oziboomer
    Every business has both relationship focussed and transactional customers at various points of contact.

    The skill one needs to develop is in recognising what path the current encounter will take.

    In my experience I'm always aiming for the relationship centric model where my business will serve the client for the long term but...

    ...here is the but..

    Recognise that a long term client (i.e. higher dollar value) may just want something that is a commodity product from you from time to time.

    You have to have systems, products or tactics to sell these commodity or transaction type products AND recognise when clients just need these transactional sales.

    Conversely a transactional client can become a relationship based client once they have experienced your services so it pays to be always pre-selling the long term benefits of doing business with you.

    Keys to recognising the transactional clients are the ones who just ask about price and express that they require something just to fix a problem, as last minute gift, etc etc...we have a list if them a mile long.

    The relationship client is much more focussed on the bigger picture of how you will fit into their lives.

    Treat each encounter as if it could go either way and be sure to frame their needs early in the sales process so that you can meet them without building a wall between you and the client.

    The biggest LIGHTBULB moment for me was to understand that the relationship starts before they are a client NOT afterwards.

    Think of the FREEline. ...Isn't that starting the relationship.

    All your marketing should be establishing the relationship before the sale and then just follow on afterwards.

    If you want transactional clients just advertise PRICE.
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  • Profile picture of the author bizgrower
    I think marketing is every touch the customer has with your business and think it's all relational.
    I want lots of repeat and referral transactions.
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    "If you think you're the smartest person in the room, then you're probably in the wrong room."

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    • Originally Posted by savidge4 View Post

      Why do I always feel the odd ball in the bunch?

      Transactional selling is where the money is at. McDonalds comes to mind... WalMart... Overstock.com... Target... your local chain grocery... These are ALL transactional models.

      I personally... develop relationships in my selling... its my "Style". and again the flipside of that is I develop Transactional selling machines for my clients. THAT is my "style".

      There are 2 factors that I think get confused, those being "Trust" and a "Relationship" Getting on the phone for 20 minutes and developing "Trust" is NOT relationship building. When was the last time you had lunch with someone you sold something to on a cold call or in your store?

      Trust is a qualifying step to building a relationship.

      Trust is a qualifying step to making a sale.

      The "relationship" in my eyes, is what happens AFTER the sale.
      Savidge, right on man. I think even for a moment, I confused it. But I suppose I should explain a bit. In commercial maintenance, it seems like these people have budgets and certain times of the year they look for these services. My first thought is to cold call to find out the decision maker, and do something like this.. Talk to them to see find any pain points in their current system, and some will be more obvious than others. If I can sell them, cool. Commence the trust and relationship building. If I'm not there at the right time, I want to implement a marketing strategy to ensure I stay top of mind. Mind you, I do get calls from commercial properties from my SEO and PPC... but it's just not breaking through the market like I'd like it to and I'd like to be more proactive as opposed to reactive to the market!

      Originally Posted by Oziboomer View Post

      Every business has both relationship focussed and transactional customers at various points of contact.

      The skill one needs to develop is in recognising what path the current encounter will take.

      In my experience I'm always aiming for the relationship centric model where my business will serve the client for the long term but...

      ...here is the but..

      Recognise that a long term client (i.e. higher dollar value) may just want something that is a commodity product from you from time to time.

      You have to have systems, products or tactics to sell these commodity or transaction type products AND recognise when clients just need these transactional sales.

      Conversely a transactional client can become a relationship based client once they have experienced your services so it pays to be always pre-selling the long term benefits of doing business with you.

      Keys to recognising the transactional clients are the ones who just ask about price and express that they require something just to fix a problem, as last minute gift, etc etc...we have a list if them a mile long.

      The relationship client is much more focussed on the bigger picture of how you will fit into their lives.

      Treat each encounter as if it could go either way and be sure to frame their needs early in the sales process so that you can meet them without building a wall between you and the client.

      The biggest LIGHTBULB moment for me was to understand that the relationship starts before they are a client NOT afterwards.

      Think of the FREEline. ...Isn't that starting the relationship.

      All your marketing should be establishing the relationship before the sale and then just follow on afterwards.

      If you want transactional clients just advertise PRICE.
      Right on man. Good words.

      Originally Posted by bizgrower View Post

      I think marketing is every touch the customer has with your business and think it's all relational.
      I want lots of repeat and referral transactions.
      Bizgrower, that's my thought process as well. However, I noticed I'm too aggressive with closing before truly building value of using my company as opposed to other companies. I have no problem selling to consumers, but I have a hard time putting the pieces together in a marketing plan for larger, corporate clients that typically have a lot of decision makers and the sales process is typically longer. Often, these guys are PRO BUYERS.
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  • Profile picture of the author Bayo
    Transactional selling implies that you start with your end goal in mind. In other words, as you kick-off engagement with the other party you know from the very beginning preferably, if there's a potential business relationship to be explored.

    I serve service business quite a lot simply because I've always been a service based business since I got started in 1995. This means I understand the challenges of entrepreneurs, solo professionals and owners of businesses that offer services vey well and I can talk to them authentically.

    At gatherings, social or business, I always remain aware of what people (the business people) I interact with do. Without fail, only a handful will have anything impressive to say about their success in marketing and promoting their business, which leads to deeper discussions.

    During that time I'm deliberately figuring out where they are in terms of being a potential fit for what I help service businesses achieve.

    An opportunity to move things to the next stage which could be a simple exchange of information and follow up may or may not happen, but the point I'm making is of the awareness factor throughout these engagements with people.

    So in a nutshell, transactional selling is a process that starts pretty early with the identification of the possibility of a business relationship happening (and it may or may not happen even when there seems to be a good match).

    BAYO
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