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Q2/2014 Relationships vs. Sales

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a “sales call” where you know the sales rep is there just to “sell you” something?

shutterstock_onthephone-300x200In the sales profession, we sometimes refer to this as “salesman’s breath.” The reason they come calling is because they’re hungry. It has nothing to do with you. After a few seconds with such a rep, it’s clear that they are there in some last-ditch effort to make a quota or sell some aging inventory—and that they really have no idea what you need and why.

Making a quarterly—or even less-frequent—call only serves to underscore that they are not in your corner.

One of the most overlooked skills in consultative sales is that of relationship building. In the shift from order taker to trusted advisor, it is imperative that we stop and listen to what our prospects and existing customers are saying. The old adage that we have two ears and one mouth, and therefore should listen twice as much as we speak definitely fits here.

As we take the time to consult on a consistent basis, not just on an “as-needed” basis or based on whatever our calendar reminder tells us to do, we become a valued expert. Once we listen intently to what our contacts are saying, we begin to provide the value-add that our prospects and customers desire. It is this value-add that can actually turn the relationship around—and have your customers calling you for advice, guidance through whatever their market is throwing at them, and help in meeting their organizational and personal needs.

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The end result of this is that your customers are happy, their needs are met, and you have become their “go to” source not just for product, but for advice and a voice of reason in a marketplace full of noise.

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