Home > Uncategorized > To Sell To Your Client, You Have To Relate To Your Client

To Sell To Your Client, You Have To Relate To Your Client

“Birds of a feather stick together”.  It is an old, tired cliche that has been used too many times in recent memory.  However, like most cliches, there is a large enough element of truth to it to make it relevant whenever it is retold.  There are other similar phrases, such as, “guilty by association” and “you are judged by the friends you keep”.  All mean relatively the same thing.  People will judge you to a degree and since clients are people…expect them to judge you, too.

There isn’t a salesperson in the world that doesn’t crave the high-end client with a large wallet and expensive car.  Usually, these clients have fantastically similar friends and if you do well enough they will reference your services and you will be in commission heaven.  First though, you have to take a good long look at yourself and what it is your offering.

People will buy from people they share some interests with.  It may be the person met at the country club.  It may be a person in church or one of the other car pool parents.  I once worked at a company where all the members of the federal sales team were retired military personnel and most had Annapolis or West Point rings.  I didn’t even bother calling on our contact base at the Pentagon since I hadn’t served in the service.  In all fairness, I didn’t blame the client at all.  Why would they consider buying from me if we didn’t have anything in common?  How could I possibly understand what their business was about?

This lesson was not lost on me, though, as I learned to use my assets to my advantage.  I developed a very loyal customer base in south Texas using my fluency in Spanish as a way in the door.  Once they knew I could relate to them on a cultural level, it was easier to gain their trust and begin a business relationship with them.  This is not a skill set I was able to use in a sales territory with less Spanish speaking people…it was not universally applicable.  It did, though, teach me how to adapt and find the common ground with my clients anywhere I went.

What I am saying is, you will not be successful selling to the personal yacht and exotic sport car crowd if you have a rowboat and an economy car in the driveway.  It doesn’t mean they are inaccessible…you simply have to find some other way of relating to them.  More importantly, you have to show them a way they can relate to you.

Clients are people and sales departments seem to regularly forget this crucial fact.  You wouldn’t be comfortable buying from a stranger so why would you expect your clients to act differently?  The better you take a look in the mirror and discover who you are and what you’re bringing to the table, the easier it will be to find and develop customers.


  1. John
    July 13, 2011 at 9:16 am

    100% dead on – could be talking family , sports whatever ! Find it , use it and build on it !

    • July 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      I absolutely agree. What you choose defines the relationship so you must ensure you can follow through with the development. Thanks for the comment.

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