60% of the buying process – that’s the stat you’ll see most sales trainers, coaches, and thought leaders tell you. That’s how much of the sales process your buyer completes before even talking to you.

So what do you do about that?

What Most Companies Do 

Most throw their arms up in the air and get frustrated. They complain. They blame technology for moving way too fast.

But all of those responses net you one thing: nothing.

As a Smart Business, You Decide to Adjust

Widely respected sales pro Jill Konrath recommends you start building relationships way before the prospect even starts researching.

Of course, there’s lots you can do to engage them as they do research. But, you have a big-time leg up on the competition if you build a relationship with your prospects before you ever want to ask them for anything.

How to Build Relationships with Prospects Before They Need What You Have

This is tough and requires some creativity and ingenuity. After all, 99% of the content you read on the web talks about delivering content during the buy cycle.

Here’s some super-easy ways you can build those relationships long before the sales cycle starts:

1. Identify Your Target Market

You need to have a company type and job position of your prospect to start. Getting connections on LinkedIn is simple. You need to have a respectable profile – professional headshot and complete information.

That’s it from your end. Then, you can search, join groups where your target prospects are, or tap your own network for connections.

Request to connect with your prospects. In your request, erase the default language. You will get 0 connections, or almost 0, if you use that.

Instead, point out 2 things you have in common with the prospect in your request.

About 40% will connect with you, and you’ll have a highly targeted list of prospects. There’s a lot you can do from here – share some content with them 1-2 times over the next month. Post updates to your profile. Ask them to subscribe to your list.

That warms them up.

2. Do Exploratory Sales Calls That Don’t Involve Pitching

Take some time to get to know your target market. Prospects mention so many details you’ll never, ever figure out by e-mail or social media.

It’s too long to give you a precise script here…so I found a ridiculously simple one you can use here.

Takes 5 minutes to learn.

The one thing I’d add is that, assuming your prospect doesn’t want to buy, which is most likely, ask them if you can sign them up to your e-mail newsletter list.

That’s another easy way to stay in touch and keep the relationship going. Plus, e-mail newsletters have absurdly high ROIs reaching 500%+.

Most Sales People Aren’t Persistent, But You Should Be!

Sales statistics differ depending on the source, but they’re all similar. According to this source, it usually takes at least 5 follow-up contacts before a customer purchases.

But just 8% of salespeople follow up at least 5 times!

You’ve got a huge advantage to your credit if you can make that happen.

None of These Tips Were Super Hard, Were They?

That’s the funny thing about sales. There’s a “herd mentality” out there where many, maybe most, salespeople do basically the same thing.

All you have to do is learn what the herd does. Then do something different.

And now you’ve got a starting plan sitting right in your hands.