Sales can be “good” without building strong relationships, but those relationships are required if a salesperson is to transition from “good” to “great.”

Building strong relationships with prospects and current clients is a skill, which means your staff can learn to do it. Here are seven specific strategies that can help build the skill and the relationships at the same time.


Listening is the number-one tool for building any relationship – sales included. People will often tell you what they need and want if given the chance, so work on being a great listener and a good talker.


Customers feel like they matter when you respond quickly to their phone calls or emails. In person, listen first, then think before you respond. Your response will demonstrate you care enough about their words to pay attention and reflect on them.

Ask for feedback.

What does the customer need? What could be better? What do they like already? When you ask for feedback, you’re communicating the customer matters – and when you listen, you’re communicating you genuinely want to help.

Provide value.

What’s one fact, solution or freebie you can give to prospective clients early in the relationship? When you show you can provide value, you become valuable to others. Listening early and often can help you pinpoint specific value you can offer the customer.

Get social.

Social media is a great way to “listen” to prospective and current clients before ever speaking with them. Use it to spot shared interests or ways you can provide value before you connect with the person.


Nobody enjoys being the subject of a sales pitch – not even salespeople, who often find themselves analyzing the tactics rather than enjoying the chat. Instead, seek to have conversations. You have a unique perspective on an industry, product or service, so use it to be an insightful conversation partner, not a sales robot.

Be real.

Insincerity is the fastest route to distrust. Instead, leverage your listening and social media skills to find points of interest between you and the prospective or current customer that really matter to you – whether they’re “about” what you’re selling or about the local sports team.

At Hahn Training, we focus on helping managers and sales staff improve their skills and implement the best practices required to thrive in sales and hit their goals. Contact us today to learn more about our sales training and consulting services.

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