“Nothing happens until a sale is made” said Thomas Watson of IBM. This is very true in the world of business where the focus is on income and profits. The result is that the world has filled up with sales people who will try to sell to anything and anyone they come into contact with. But is this really the way to develop your business?
Most of us have been taught that selling is a numbers game and that we need to keep adding fresh meat to our sales funnel if we want to make it. This is the way it has been for many decades, all the way back to the days of Thomas Watson and beyond.
However, our world has evolved since then and many of us have realised that business is about developing relationships, rather than pushing sales.
A relationship is a connection to someone we like, trust and respect.
Trust and respect is something that develops over time, and not something that is instantly in place. A sales focused business person doesn’t have the patience to wait for things to develop over time, and therefore switch into sales mode at every possible opportunity. They may feign interest in us for a couple of moments in an effort to break the ice and get to the chase, but we know deep inside that this is just a sales technique...
In a society that is fraught with unsavoury business practises, scams and rip-offs, most of us have become very cautious about who we do business with and how we respond to sales people. We prefer to build a relationship first, so that we know we can trust the other person.
The big advantage of a business relationship built on trust, is that once the trust level reaches a certain point, business will follow. It could be direct business between the two parties, if they represent each others’ target markets, but very often could take the form of qualified business referrals and introductions. This type of business relationship is sustainable and built on win-win principles. If looked after and nurtured over time, it could end up lasting a lifetime.
While selling is focused on an immediate return for one person in the transaction only, business relationships are focused on mutual benefit over time, and create opportunities for many additional advantages to follow.
Changing from sales mode to relationship mode is a quantum leap for many business people, but the benefits are well worth it. You do not need to belong to any secret societies to realise the benefits of business relationships, but you do need to make the effort to shift your focus to each individual person you meet and start adding value to them – without expecting anything in return.
If you are not sure how this applies to your unique circumstances or how to get started, please contact us and we will be happy to share some further thoughts with you.
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