Building Relationships to Sell Product

The last time I posted, I wrote about the differences in North America versus Europe when it comes to the product supply chain. But one of the major differences I did not mention was the emotional approach that North American buyers take versus overseas buyers.

Relationship selling happens all over the world. It happens in every industry and in all types of business. When you enter the term “emotional selling” into Google, more than 73 million results come up. Page after page is filled with links to services, approaches and case studies related to relationship-based selling. But the North American glass and glazing industry takes relationship or emotional selling to a new level.

The psychology around this process is simple at its core: get to know the customer and reach them where it counts, in their hearts. But how do you get there? This was a learning experience for me when I started in the business. I learned quickly that you could have a full range of products from a company that had been around forever, but if the customer did not know you, did not gain your trust, did not feel value from your service to them, you were not going to get much traction selling. 

The glass industry is one that is built on relationships and emotions. In North America that situation is more pronounced than anywhere in the world. Family businesses are more dominant here and that relationship model becomes crucial because the buying chain is getting passed from generation to generation.

The challenge for someone not ingrained in that world is now two-fold: you need to develop that relationship while also working to educate the customer to consider your product and services over someone they already trust.

I have found the approach that works is this: constantly promote the value proposition you deliver while being sincere in getting to know the customer and their business. Care about how they are personally, while being proactive in creating opportunities for them to improve efficiencies and their bottom line. Never disparage the incumbent supplier; rather, focus on your strengths and your abilities to make the difference in their business.

A quality product, coupled with a sincere and focused selling approach goes a long way to selling product throughout North America.

Gareth Francey is the president of Bohle America, a supplier of glazing & handling tools, hardware, consumables, and machinery, for all levels of the glass industry. Francey has been with the Bohle organization since 2001 and led the American division since 2010. Contact him at gareth.francey@bohle-america.com.

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.

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