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Relationships are the key to your sales success. Breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and everything in between — the time you spend with your customer is crucial. Creating a rapport is one thing, but building a deep trust is quite another. And it will make a huge impact on your sales.

But how do you make this happen? To put it simply: The best way to sell is with a partner relationship. And the best time to build that relationship is when you’re not selling anything at all.

Don’t be the stereotype.

Everybody knows the stereotype of the opportunistic salesperson. Don’t be that person. Even at the very first contact with a new prospect, you can differentiate yourself and begin to build the foundation of a lasting relationship. A customer will know if, on a phone call, you’re engaged and involved, even when there’s nothing going on, and you just want to keep current and understand where they’re at. It’s imperative to put in the time and care outside of the transaction. It will pay off in the end.

Keep it confidential.

As you build your close customer relationships, there may come the time when customers share inside or material information about what is happening within their companies. Perhaps they are expecting layoffs or a reorganization. This is where your role as a trusted advisor comes into play and you uphold the confidentiality of the relationship — and act accordingly and compassionately. Don’t take advantage of that information for personal gain.

Create transparency.

The deeper the conversations become, the more transparency you need to provide. Sometimes you will actually have to tell customers something they don’t want to hear. That’s OK. Like any relationship — sales or otherwise — honesty helps both sides grow. Of course, appropriately positioning an opposing view is incredibly important. It behooves you to show that you aren’t only there to say yes, and that you can actually help your customer by presenting a different point of view. This transparency is the way for all of our relationships to deepen.

Treat a customer the way you want to be treated.

The biggest takeaway as you build your relationship is that you have to keep your customers’ long-term interests in mind. At the end of the day, it’s pretty easy: Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s not about being the most charismatic or funniest person in the room. It’s about being genuine. Everyone has had a great customer experience where someone truly went out of his or her way for you. That’s something you remember.

The “social contract” with customers is one you can always win. It means being there every step of the way — not just for the sale. In the end, the relationships you create and nurture will lead to sales. Be there in good weather and bad as that trusted advisor. If you become a true partner, the relationship can benefit everyone.

The best way to sell is with a partner relationship. And the best time to build that relationship is when you’re not selling anything at all.”

Warren Wick | Executive Vice President, Enterprise Sales, Salesforce

Learn More

How to Craft the Perfect Sales Pitch By Annie Simms,
Account Executive, Salesforce
The Simple Client Meeting Rules Every Salesperson Should Follow By Laura Stack,
President and CEO, Productivity Keynote Speaker and Author, The Productivity Pro, Inc.



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