Articles

Connecting With Our Clients

by Greg Surtman

Back in 2004, I took a DiSC Assessment that changed my perspective on how I was (or was not) connecting with my clients.  This was such an “eye-opening” experience that I dove right into the data and challenged myself to become more effective at building client relationships.  I believe this experience was a key factor in my ability to sell over $17,000,0000 in contract services over 16 years and I wanted to share the three-step process with you.  I also used this approach to connect with several leaders and co-workers at Cuyahoga Community College.

Step #1:  Understand Ourselves a Little Better

By taking the DiSC Sales Assessment we can identify our unique behavioral tendencies that drive our priorities and selling style.  We gain a better understanding of our sales strengths and sales challenges which provides a heightened level of awareness about how we impact sales situations and ultimately our business relationships.  Be prepared to have an open mind when you read your 25+ page DiSC Sales Profile.

Step #2:  Profile the Client

Our clients will often have a buying style that doesn’t match our selling style.  To become an effective sales professional, we need to understand all four buying styles and have a few strategies to connect with clients for each of these styles.  The four unique styles include:  “Dominance”, “Influence”, “Steadiness”, & “Conscientiousness”.  We can’t ask our clients to take the DiSC Sales Assessment before our first encounter with them …  however, there is a quick and easy way to profile our clients early in the process: 

The answer to these two questions will profile them as having the “D”, “i”, “S”, or “C” style.  Client profiling, or “people reading”, takes practice but is a great skill we need to use early and often as we develop client relationships.

Step #3:  Use an Effective Engagement Strategy

If we can understand ourselves, our client, and the situation, we are in a great position to identify the right engagement strategy to establish or grow a business relationship with that client.  For example, if I have an “i” style, I may prefer to share stories to build relationships; but if I’m working with a client with the “C” style, I know they prefer to share and analyze data to make business decisions.  In this scenario, I will refrain from the storytelling and find ways to present data, preferably in spreadsheet format, to make a connection with them.

I have found this process to have a profound impact on all client interactions.  The collection of these client interactions will define the business relationship we have and the revenue we are able to generate from that client.  The DiSC Sales Assessment, Profile & Workshop is part of the two-day “Strategy & Solution Selling Workshop for Community Colleges” that Contract Training Edge delivers across the country.  If you would like to explore how Contract Training Edge can help your team become more effective at connecting with clients, please contact Greg Surtman at (216) 509-6398, or gsurtman@ctedge.net . 

Happy Selling, my friends…