One of the most powerful truths I have learnt in business is that most people will buy your products and services not necessarily because you have an awesome offering but because you have earned their trust or emotional connection. Usually, it is emotions that drive buying decision. Logic and facts only serve to justify it. This concept is called Relationship Selling. Relationship Selling is founded on the belief that building trust and genuine rapport with your prospects will lead to future sales. In other words, you need to win the mind share before you can win the market share.

You may have products or services with amazing features and benefits, but so do your competitors. Advancement in technology and increasing sophistication of the buyer have raised the bar such that it is no longer enough to compete on the basis of quality alone; you also need to compete at the level of relationship. People want to see that you care about them, that you really desire to connect with them rather than just make money off them.

Businesses that focus on “strictly business” rather than building a relationship with customers and prospects will gradually fade out of relevance. This is why forward-thinking businesses and organisations are beginning to focus on how they can bond with their leads, prospects and clients, or at least give them that feeling of relationship and identification. Consequently, they are putting in lots of effort to attract prospects and delight clients with strategic relationship building through a mix of offline and social media channels.

Unfortunately, many solopreneurs and small business owners have not come to terms with this reality. The way they relate with prospects and clients leaves much to be desired. In many cases, they put on a disposition that immediately tells prospective customers to look elsewhere.

I don’t think you should invite people to do business with you if you don’t have the availability and bandwidth to take care of them. You should be nice and polite to customers and prospects regardless of the situation. Even if you’re not disposed to cultivating a pool of loyal customers and brand advocates through relationship selling (in which case one would wonder why you’re in business to start with), you should at least listen with an open mind and respond with grace.