The quickest way to ensure your message isn’t heard is to send it to the wrong person. Sales, marketing, or anything in business for that matter, is all about people. More so, it’s about trust; and you build that trust by building rock solid relationships, and nurturing them. We live in a busy world, and it’s easy to lean on technology, especially when it can take some of the burden (and time spent) off ourselves.

There’s a fallacy about technology, however, when it comes to efficiency through automation. It’s incomplete. The idea that automation through marketing and sales tools can do all of the heavy lifting for you is false. Building quality relationships takes time, finesse, patience, and a lot of human empathy. If you’re ignoring these steps, whether through technology or your team, you’re missing a world of opportunities.

People deserve to be treated like…well…people

Let’s step back for a minute, and bring this back to basics. When you’re selling or marketing something to someone, you are dealing with a real person. Real people change their mind. Real people have needs that go deeper than their first impressions give off. Real people want to be treated like real people. So, why are so many marketers and sales reps doing the opposite?

To make a real connection with these real people, it takes time. You can’t assume to know what a person wants based on just data sets; it’s incomplete. You need to talk to people like you want to be talked to, and develop that relationship over time, with trust. The industry term for this process is called “nurturing”, but in reality it’s far deeper than that. What you’re really doing is empathizing with your target audience.

If you can understand what someone else is feeling, you’re already one step ahead

As Jeffrey Gitomer says, “Value the relationship more than making your quota.” Sure, you have numbers to make, and deadlines to meet. However, looking at sales and marketing prospects as short term conquests is endemic of a greater failure to connect with them. Again, we go back to empathy.

If you empathize with the complexities of how people react to other people, how they feel, and what drives them, you’ll have a much better understanding of how (and why) they buy things. If you understand how (and why) people buy things, you’ll have a much better understanding of how to sell to them. It’s not rocket science, but it takes a certain level of self awareness, and can’t be duplicated by a machine, no matter how hard you try.

Nurturing, and developing long term relationships by the numbers

According to studies done by HubSpot, well nurtured leads have a 9% higher deal size. They also found that 66% of buyers indicate that “consistent and relevant communication provided by both sales and marketing organizations” is a key influence when choosing a solution provider. This means that statistically, if you develop, nurture, and care about long term relationships with your potential customers, you’ll sell more to them, and do it better. That’s a win/win, no matter how you slice it, and it all comes from caring and understanding who you’re talking to, and why you’re talking to them.

Don’t let a “no” or “maybe” be the impetus for moving on from a potential sale. Get to know why you got that answer, empathize with it, and keep in contact with that person (or people) going forward. If you’re top of mind when a lead is cold, you’re going to be top of mind when that lead turns hot. The trick is always connecting, and always communicating with a message that says “you’re relationship is important to me.” Millions of dollars in marketing and sales automation can’t do that. You can. So treat these relationships like you’d want someone to treat you under the same circumstances. The net gains are immense, and you’ll feel like a better person for doing so.

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Building relationships is a long game, not a short one when it comes to growth