Relationship Selling and Your SalesThe term “Relationship Selling” has become a cliché. Sales speakers and trainers throw the term around as if it’s a panacea for poor sales performance.

There’s a problem with the cliché of relationship selling, though—prospects don’t actually want a relationship.

That’s not what they’re there for. A relationship might develop, but that’s not their goal. It’s not even on their radar.

Nobody ever walks into a store thinking, “I hope I find a good relationship in here.” No manager or CEO meets with a salesperson and thinks, “Oh boy! A chance to create a new relationship!”

On the contrary, buyers are looking to buy something. The salesperson is the necessary evil they have to endure to purchase it.

So if you’re trying to get chummy with your prospect and they’re having none of it, that’s the reason why.

Understand that a buyer isn’t going to invest time and effort into forging a relationship with a person they may not encounter more than once.

So instead of trying to force a relationship with a person who isn’t looking for one, be the kind of salesperson your prospect wants to build a relationship with.

Keep in mind that good relationships are built on respect, trust, support and communication (read: listening). And it’s up to you to exhibit those elements first. Your prospect has no reason to respect, trust, support or listen to you until you respect, trust, support and listen to them.

Which means ask good questions and listen to the answers. Respect your prospect’s time, intelligence and values. Think of ways you can support them in their goals. And trust what they say, rather than falling into the trap of believing “buyers are liars.”

A relationship with your customer is a good goal, but it’s not your primary one. Your first and most important goal is to serve your prospect’s immediate needs. Do that well and you create the opportunity for a strong relationship down the road—one that’s mutually rewarding.