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Delta Business Solutions » The Myth Of Relationship Selling

The Myth Of Relationship Selling

Posted June 26th, 2010 by Spence Bowthorpe with No Comments

by Rich Harshaw

The second you quit being the ‘best deal’ for your customer, he’ll drop you like a hot potato. Regardless of how many lunches you’ve bought him or birthdays you’ve remembered.

Every business we’ve ever consulted tells us the same thing about their sales force. They say that their industry is different from all the others and the only effective way for their salespeople to sell is to build buddy-buddy relationships with their prospects and customers. We hear it from printers, bankers, jewelers, accountants, industrial equipment manufacturers, office equipment distributors…and every other industry that sells stuff.

The argument usually goes something like this: “You see, in our industry, people put a lot of thought into this type of decision. They just don’t go out and buy from whoever has the prettiest advertisements. As a matter of fact, we still have many of the same customers from when my grandfather owned the business. Now their grandsons buy from us. You just can’t change these things overnight.”

Relationship Selling Is A Myth. Like all myths, there are some elements of truth to it. Yes, it’s true that your customers should like you. Yes, it’s true that you can’t necessarily influence big buying decisions overnight. But get one thing perfectly clear – your customers buy from you for one reason: they believe you have “the best deal.”

Now their definition of what’s the best deal may be different from the next person’s. But generally, it has a lot to do with a combination of things like convenience, quality, consistency, service, and price. Usually, about 80% of a given target market will have the same needs, the same problems they want solved, and the same attitudes about buying. If you can solve their problems in a cost effective way, then getting their business is just a matter of staying in front of their face long enough to let them know you have the answers they need.

Don’t Manage Cherries, Manage Trees!

The cherry tree is a useful sales analogy. Like a fruit tree, sales prospects must be cultivated in a certain way if they are to bear fruit. The problem is that most salespeople spend 80% of their time managing leads and trying to build relationships…managing each cherry on the tree. If the prospect doesn’t happen to be ‘ripe’ at the exact moment the sales rep makes the call, the prospect is forgotten. Goes rotten. At best, he gets the annoying monthly phone call from the salesperson that invariably says, “You ready to move on those widgets yet?”

In the MYM system, you spend your prospecting efforts on the entire tree. You provide the tree with light, water, and nutrients – and it bears fruit. You provide your entire target market of prospects with information, education and knowledge until it becomes self-evident to them that you are the only logical choice when it comes to your products or services.

By the time the prospect figures out that you are the best deal, he doesn’t really care who YOU are. He only cares what you have to offer HIM. When you finally sit down face-to-face, it will be to discuss details of the sale – not to ‘persuade’ him to do anything.

Posted in Marketing Sales
Tags Marketing Selling
Written by Spence Bowthorpe

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