Kevin Price, Host of the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK (on Bloomberg’s home in Houston) recently interviewed Denise Graziano.
About the interviewee
A strategic thinker and leader with over 27 years of business experience, Denise Graziano is President and CEO of Graziano Associates. Ms. Graziano is author of the forthcoming book Once A Client, Always a Client™, and creator of Client Relationship Mastery™, the formula designed to help sales professionals retain clients in today’s competitive business landscape. Graziano Associates is a marketing and promotions firm which helps clients to get the best results from their sales messaging, client relationships, employee rewards, event presence, and trade show performance.
Denise has written numerous articles on sales, trade show performance, client relationships and client retention practices. She has presented live workshops, national webinars and has been a featured blogger for various outlets.
Denise is available to speak to corporate sales teams, executives and other groups on the topics of sales and client retention.
Tell me about your firm (number of employees, location, type of companies you work with, etc.).
Graziano Associates is a small marketing firm (under 10 employees) that generates big results, based in Fairfield, CT. We work with mid to large size, including many Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Customarily we with the C-Suite, Marketing Department or HR Department. We develop strategies to help clients improve their sales messaging, client retention, trade show results and employee motivation. Some niche markets we serve include insurance/reinsurance industries, travel and tourism and sports marketing.
Tell us about why it is important for you to establish a relationship with your potential clients.
When sales people approach a client to make a sale, very often it will be a one time deal. They stay in the initial sales cycle, losing clients over price or lack of attention because no relationship exists. Long term business relationships don’t just happen. They come over time with proven, art-and-science client retention strategies and business best practices. We created the Client Relationship Mastery™ formula designed to improve client retention in today’s competitive business landscape.
Once A Client, Always A Client means that client relationships should be approached with that end result in mind: once a client works with you, they will not want to leave for any reason. They will regard you as their trusted ally, partner and problem solver. They want you on their team.
This increases results for them, and sales and referrals for you.
What do you do to establish relationship with the key players?
Whenever meeting someone for the first time, do you your homework. Know as much as you can about their backgrounds, as well as their roles in the company, and current company and industry developments. When you meet them initially, take steps to authentically build a rapport. Find commonalities that spark a personal connection that make you memorable. Then build on that foundation by proving yourself as a problem solver. “Vendor” or “sales person” connotes someone on the outside; you want to be their trusted ally. Relationships are built over time by gaining client’s trust and confidence. However this can be accelerated by showing your own integrity, respect about the process and delivering consistent results.
What sales techniques have you found as ineffective in developing relationships, which ones work, and why?
Surprisingly the stereotypical salesperson that no one likes or respects still exists in business today. These individuals choose to “push” their materials and ideas toward a prospect without any consideration if it is a good fit (which is a lazy approach). It just does not work. They are not seen as trustworthy, genuine or reliable.
Effective salespeople do correctly 3 things at the start: 1. They have a good understanding about the client and the challenge they are facing. 2. They present a clear and authentic solution to the problem 3. They start a relationship with the intent of working with them again and again.
Prospects and clients are more savvy than ever because they are educated and have access to many options for most products and services. It is critical to create a connection and build on that by helping their clients to succeed and look good to their superiors.