Building Relationships is Vital to a Successful Business

Are you a persuader or a partner?
If your client perceives you as someone who is trying to sell something, a persuader, you will be met with resistance but if your client regards you a partner, and believes you are trying to problem-solve with him, he will want to work with you.

That was the guidance of Jim Cathcart, Founder and CEO of Cathcart Institute and author of the bestselling book “Relationship Selling” in the opening session of the 401(k) SUMMIT in San Diego, CA yesterday, emphasizing the need to develop relationships as part of a business model. However, the relationship has to be integrated in a sales context, Cathcart says. “If you build a relationship with someone and don’t make a sale, it’s a social relationship; if you make a sale but no relationship – how hard is your second call?”

The people you sell to may not remember the people, the processes or the products presented, but they will remember how they felt. Because of this, Cathcart said, it is important to ensure you are not seen as a persuader, but rather as a partner.

“The purpose of what you do is to make life better for people,” he said, something that needs relationships and trust to make that work. Advisers are selling security and stable retirements through their products, he said, and you must frame these products as such to get the right message to the client.

According to Cathcart, when he was beginning in sales, his mentor said that the goal of selling is to make a difference – “if you cant make a difference, you shouldn’t make a sale,” something he says he took with him and has used as a guideline ever since. “Business ought to be a profitable act of friendship,” he said, because trust will develop, and when trust is high the sale is not about persuasion. The trust factor is very important in selling. Trust is power, Cathcart said. It is not directly accessible to us, but there are things we can do to foster the development of trust. One way to do this is to stop upselling and start upservicing; stop trying to increase the size of the transaction (revenue), focus on increasing the client or customer’s satisfaction, he said, because in doing that, the upselling will follow.

To be successful, you must measure your progress, he said, because things that are measured tend to improve. Without measurement, progress is questionable and success is uncertain. Therefore, taking that into consideration in a business building sense, in order to be the person you want to become or have the business you want, you have to visualize that, Cathcart said; “every day ask yourself the following question: How would the person I’d like to be do the work I am about to do?”