Relationship Selling: Definition, Process & Techniques

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: James Carnrite

James has an MBA in IT Management.

Relationship selling occurs when a business or salesperson focuses on building a relationship with customers rather than selling them a good or service. Explore the definition, process, and techniques of relationship selling. Compare relationship selling to traditional selling to understand how it differs and why some businesses prefer this approach over traditional selling. Updated: 10/12/2021

What is Relationship Selling?

Relationship selling refers to the sales technique that focuses on the interaction between the buyer and the salesperson rather than the price or details of the product. Arguably, all three remain critical for any sales activity, but the status of the relationship can increase consumer loyalty as a result of familiarity and personality of the salesperson.

This sales technique is prominent for companies selling products and services that rely on repeat business from customers, such as insurance policies, or private instructors, such as dance or music. These individuals are forced to compete on the level of quality and price; however, it they make good relationships, their customers will continue to buy from them as a result, sometimes regardless of price.

In the traditional sales approach, the goal is to make the sale and that is the end point of the buyer/seller relationship. Marketers realized that the sale is not the end point, and in many situations is not the end goal either. In actuality, the sale is the beginning of what many companies are looking for: a long-term relationship.

These long-term relationships turn to profitability for companies and are referred to as 'ongoing relationships.' For example, real estate agents or lawn care services are not seeking one point of interaction with you. They strive for a longer relationship that produces future interactions (not to mention recommendations) and profitability for their business.

Imagine if you hired two different companies to mow your lawn and keep things weeded and trimmed. Are you more likely to rehire the guy who was cheery, asked after your family, and seemed keenly interested in your preferences for his work, or the guy who gave you short answers and was awkward to be around? Who would you recommend to your neighbor when she asks you if you know a good company?

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Repositioned Products: Examples & Overview

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is Relationship Selling?
  • 1:48 Process
  • 2:53 Technique
  • 4:00 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed


Relationship selling concerns the state of the relationship with the customer as a form of measure, regardless of sales results. If damage occurs to the trust between the buyer and the salesperson, that customer is gone! For the buyer and salesperson to have a positive relationship, the customer must have a positive feeling after each and every transaction. In relationship selling, the salesperson must consider the process of relationship building as well as sales to be successful.

The planning, meeting, and studying steps in the relationship selling process require a greater amount of time dedication than the traditional method. The proposing and confirmed stage requires lower time commitment versus the increased time needed for the 'sales pitch' of the traditional style. Finally, assuring the customer in the relationship selling method provides the additional trust and potential for future transactions which requires time and effort by the salesperson and not the 'one and done' mentality of the traditional selling style.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it now
Create an account to start this course today
Used by over 30 million students worldwide
Create an account