I have always found success in being a more laid back and BE the right fit kind of Sales Professional. I will not try to put a square peg into a round hole and say it fits…it does not work in the long run.
All around me I see others in my own organization and the competition taking a very aggressive stance and either brow beating or making a service fit the needs of a client rather than the creation of trust and long term sustainability between the Sales Professional and the Client.
Does it take the patience of an oyster…absolutely but if you want a pearl to come out at the end of the process then the act of putting YOU in the number one position as the most important part of the relationship has to include a long term vision of what needs to happen. I do not focus on the sale I will get today, next week or next month. I look down the road 6 months or 1 year from now and look to how the Account and the Relationship will grow. How will I become a Trusted Part of the Clients daily routine.
Now I have inherited more than a few accounts that I now Manage and I find that rebuilding that trust and the relationship from the run and gun attitude of the Sales Person before me can be a challenge but I have another ace up my sleeve as I actually do know what my clients are going through as a Technical Sales Guy and I 100% believe in the Relationship First!
Building a Relationship is one of the main reasons why I fire up my computer each morning and start each day off with the ritual of looking to Personal Improvement and Technology Rants to connect with and provide some insights into what goes on in the head of this Sales Professional.
In preparation for this Post I did pour over about 25 sources commonly found on the web to be able to have a foundation from which to place my opinion and from my experience there are some misconceptions and inherent dangers to Relationship Selling:
- Focus on One Person – when you click with that one person in an organization you tend to have blinders for the other 3, 12, 25 or 100 others in the Department
- Too Laid Back – One of my personal demons is the time line of the sale…but I try to keep my “funnel” topped up so this is not an issue
- Too Long Term Focused – I have been criticized that I am too focused on the renewal point 12 months from now and sometimes loose sight of the win right before my eyes
- Emotional Investment – I do pour my heart and soul into every client and this investment can tend to overwhelm the soul as you truly get to know your clients
- Growth – Sometimes I begin to feel like I am juggling far to many china plates…but then I see the light at the end of the tunnel and think…one more can’t hurt
At the same time as these can be inherent dangers, if you look at what you do as a Sales Professional or even as an IT Professional that is forced into the situation that you need to sell your idea, projects or your very existence…it is the Relationship that will make doing so that much easier.
You may ask yourself if I have ever formed a Business Relationship with people that I don’t trust and would not hang out with at work…the answer is not really but then again there is the occasional individual that tests every nerve fibre and really gets under my skin but at the end of the day…I am true to myself and satisfied that I have not crossed any moral or ethical boundaries to support the Sale and build the Relationship.
The other key aspect that has worked for me in being focused on the Relationship is Loyalty. If I do what I say I am going to do and strive to exceed expectations with every interaction than the natural byproduct of the Sale is Loyalty. My favorite Author Jeffery Gitomer puts it best when he says:
You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.