Relationship Selling Ends When This Happens

July 10, 2012 by  Filed under: Sales 

Relationship selling has always been present especially with top sales performers. However with technology and a more educated buyer there is the potential for this to change when the following happens:

The buyer’s perception of value is greater than the existing professional relationship or BV > PR = 0. Zero represents no dollars in the salesperson’s pocket or bank account.

A good example of this formula in action is Amazon. People are buying books, merchandise all the time without any relationship selling because BV exceeds the benefits of having a PR. Quantifying BV can be anything from time, fuel costs, availability and dollars.

For some in the sales training coaching worlds, they probably are shaking their heads in disbelief because they believe the relationship is so strong based upon all the value creation, added value or value selling that has taken place.

This belief is the Achilles’ heel in relationship selling because no salesperson can create value as this intangible is unique to each buyer. Only the buyer can alter his or her perception of value and create any change.

What top sales performers actually do is to engage in behaviors to connect the buyer’s perception of value with their solutions. This is a big difference connecting versus creating.

For example, when I was growing up the acronym for Ford Motors was Fix or Repair Daily. During the last 30 years, Ford has made a concerted effort to change this perception and again is at the forefront of quality vehicle manufacturing. Now General Motors (GM) is faced with a new belief that being Government Motors. In both cases, the salespersons had nothing to do with these perceptions and reaffirms that those in sales cannot truly create value.

Now if I am a top performing Ford car salesperson and I listen to my potential customers and discover they dislike GM because of the recent financial bailouts, I can begin to build a bridge to their positions with a comment “Yes, we are fortunate here at Ford our leadership from the President down to the union workers saw what was happening several years before the financial fallout and took proactive action. Their leadership kept us from borrowing any government dollars and we are in a much stronger position.” Sales Training Coaching Tip: Top sales performers always seek to find agreement and build from that position of strength.

Now if the buyer’s value perception is equal to and/or greater or even equal to or less than the relationship this may result in a sale. In this selling situation where V > or < PR = Q (questionable sale) the salesperson must be very careful not to push the potential customer away by misspeaking about his or her solution. Again, active listening is critical to determine where the buyer has placed his or her emphasis.

When the relationship carries greater importance than what the potential buyer determines to be important (V < PR = S), this suggests earning a Sale should be far easier provided again the salesperson makes the right connections to the buyer's value perception.

Yes the business world is changing and the goal of current and future top sales performers will be how to avoid the BV > PR = 0 formula and how to leverage V < PR = S. Those who understand these changes will increase sales and continue to leave those who don't in the dust with empty pockets.

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