how to build business partnerships

Learning to Build Lifelong Business Relationships Through Sales

The sales cycle and process has evolved rapidly over the past several years.  Prospective clients and customers have more access to information than ever before.  This means that the way you approach them, along with their needs and wants must adapt.  Having the ability to identify where a prospect is in their journey, as well as having solutions that meet their pain points and desires is essential.  With this this understanding and strategy, you can develop a “sale” into a relationship that lasts a lifetime.  Financial advice, services, and products are the cornerstone of everyone’s hopes and desires.  Establishing a relationship on this front, no matter how substantial, can be grown.  However, finding, engaging, and growing these relationships is essential.  A simple conversation can evolve into lifelong and prosperous partnership between your institution and any number of clients.  Here are some key takeaways from Professor Jack Hubbard’s 2021 Graduate School of Banking class “Building Business Partnerships” that will allow your organization to foster the development of long-lasting business relationships.

Understand How to Prospect in Today’s Market

Building trust is the foundation of any relationship.  This becomes even more critical when personal and business finances are involved.  There are four pillars of trust-based prospecting.  The community approach, social approach, referral approach, and systematic approach all have their unique perspectives and designed intentions.

Leverage the Appointment Conversation Model

The appointment conversation model is designed to fill your pipeline and grow those relationships for future development.  This model begins with building trust and credibility.  You can achieve this by using the prospect’s name, thanking them for accepting your call, and ensure that they have time to speak.  Next, establish a previous touchpoint, it could be a conversation in the branch, a social media connection, or other common ground.  Third, differentiate yourself and your bank by creating curiosity about the different products and services you can offer.  Lastly, invite your prospect in for a face-to-face meeting.

Employ the Discovery Conversation Model

Your face-to-face conversations hold the most value in what you will be able to offer and grow with any current or prospective client.  Discovering how you can help is essential in how to drive the conversation.  The Discovery Conversation Model is designed to solve these challenges.  Similar to the Appointment Conversation Model, it begins with establishing trust and credibility.  Being up to speed on current market and economic factors, finding personal commonalities, and customizing your greeting and pleasantries can accomplish these tasks.  The second step is to frame the discussion you intend to have by stating the purpose, gaining their permission to proceed, and asking about any topics they’d also like to discuss.  Once engaged, you can explore any needs.  These needs can be discovered with context setting questions, insight-based questions, active listening, and effective transitioning toward solutions based on their answers.  The final phase is to address client concerns, explain the next steps, and confirm a commitment to move forward and collaborate.