Many people have written extensively on the topic of relationships and selling. One common topic is that people only buy from people they like and the other is how to develop strong relationships. There is nothing wrong with either of those topics but they surely miss the mark in two important areas.
- Some people develop wonderful relationships but the relationships take much too long to develop.
- How many times have you or one of your salespeople had a strong relationship only to discover it was still not enough to get the business?
People do have to like you but it's not enough. Liking and trusting you has some value, but not enough to compensate for a price or quality gap. The added value must come from understanding their compelling reasons for buying what you sell and for spending money, sometimes more money, to do business with you rather than your competitor. When you have conversations that lead to and uncover their personal, compelling reasons, you'll be seen as a trusted adviser, different from all the rest, and THEN they'll see the value in doing business with you.
Unfortunately, in order to ask those questions and have those discussions, a relationship must be established. And this is where the double edged sword comes into play. The discussion I'm talking about is a first meeting discussion. But the relationship that requires is often a 2nd or 3rd meeting relationship. So the problem I present is, how does one develop a late-stage relationship in an early stage meeting?
This is what the elite salespeople (top 6%) do so well. It's what the mediocre (bottom 74%) do so poorly. And it's what all of your salespeople must be able to do effectively and consistently in order to win more than they lose.
How do your salespeople stack up?