Good Relationship photo from ShutterstockWould you rather purchase from a serious, black-and-white-type salesperson, or one who is easy to talk with and who might also become a good friend?

While that might sound like a dumb question, too many business and salespeople are afraid to go out of narrowly defined boundaries. They ignore references to personal events such as upcoming family gatherings or tickets to a show.

As a business professional, make it a part of your business development process to get to know your prospective client on a personal level, too. While in conversation, and hearing of a situation non-related to business proper, that event is most likely foremost on their mind. Treat the conversation as confidential. Pose inquiring questions to learn more and respond appropriately. Doing so serves to build the relationship.

For example, while in a meeting, Jeanette heard her client say she was throwing a celebratory dinner in honor of her son’s victorious football season. Jeanette promptly asked the age of her client’s son. Upon hearing he is in his mid-20’s, Jeannette asked if football was his profession. The client loved the attention given to her son and she revealed more.

The conversation flowed and the relationship built. Jeanette was happy about getting to know her prospective client better. On the professional end, a more involved discussion came to light on how to serve the client best. By the end of the meeting, Jeanette was confident all possibilities were explored. The prospective client left happy, and Jeanette was confident she would soon become a long-term client.

Philip had tagged along to learn from Jeannette. Afterward, he expressed admiration for her ease of conversation as he witnessed it flowing naturally. There was nothing “sales-like” about it. Instead, the conversation sounded genuine. In fact, Philip could see the two were becoming friends in the process.

5 selling tips to seriously consider

1. Meetings are about your clients, not about making the sale. Too many businesspeople are so gung-ho on making the sale, They don’t hear what their prospective-client is telling them. Enter the meeting calm, collect, listen and truly hear.

2. Find the personal connection. Pictures of family, hobbies and pets are great conversation starters. Should none be evident, at the right time, ask “What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?”

3. Tie the personal connection to the business at hand. You might ask next, “Is that what turned your attention to this work; if not, what did?”

4. Work to serve your clientele well. Ask how decisions are made and what will they need to see from you to make the new relationship official. Normally no one asks these types of questions, so these serve to showcase your unique personal brand. Most often delight is expressed when you ask. These questions further your likelihood of hearing, “Sold!”

5. After the sale and upon hearing exclamations of excellent service provided, ask to use the glowing words as testimonials. At the same time, ask your new client if she might know of a colleague in similar need.

6. Continue to deliver excellence in service and professional friendliness.

Repeat business and increased sales continue to develop without much effort, providing the Smooth Sale!