June 19, 2018

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Relationship Selling Doesn't Work

There is a dangerous error in sales methods that goes something like this: "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." If you cling to this phrase as the basis of your selling philosophy, then you should reevaluate your premises.

If you think you can win more sales by building better relationships, you are only partly correct. You win sales by bringing value and contribution to your customer. The best way to win the hearts and minds and loyalty of a client is to deliver value to them first, and let the relationship develop from there. If you focus just on building a relationship and neglect to solve a problem for your prospect, then you might end up becoming good friends with your prospect…and then you can watch how he will buy from your best competitor because your competitor showed how he could solve your client's problem.

A few years back there was a sales rep who befriended me. We would meet for lunch and drinks after work, and my wife and I would go to his house for parties. But when it came time to buy, I didn't choose him because he never showed me how his service could provide a tangible benefit for me. He did a great job at building the relationship, but I choose someone else who focused on the competency of bringing me an immediate and a long-term benefit.

This is a delicate balance, and I'm not saying that relationship skills aren't important. They are important, but only if you focus on solving some sort of a problem for your prospect first. There are three elements to establishing trust in the mind of a client, and they must be followed in this sequence. If you place the concept of relationship ahead of client value, then you will be quickly relegated to the category of a kiss-up whose heart might be sincere but whose delivery is devoid of any value.

  1. First, find out what motivates the prospect to buy. This is done by question asking. When discussing the issue, ask your prospect this question: "What problem would you be able to solve when I find the best candidate for your search assignment?" If you can identify the problem, you can get the sale.

  2. Once you identify the problem, focus on that issue. This is the nerve that you must expose…and then you must jump up and down on it very hard. Do it with delicacy, by saying something like this: "What would happen if you went six months and didn't solve that issue?" Ouch. Pain. Motivation to take action. Compelling reason to consider your value.

  3. Third, bring closure to this line of question-asking by saying this: "So it sounds like with the addition of this candidate, you might be able to solve that issue, once and for all, right?" "Sure," they respond. Then say this: "So how does that affect your ability for you personally to perform?" The whole point is to bring it to the personal level. Find out how your candidate can solve an issue at the personal level in the mind of the high-level decision-maker.

Remember that people make decisions on an emotional and a personal level, and if you can find out how to solve a problem which affects that senior-level decision-maker on a personal level, you not only will get the business, you will get a friend for life. And that is the real secret to developing long-term relationships. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you can solve their problems.

- Scott Love

Scott Love works a desk everyday and has the bruises to prove it. His battle-tested theories have turned mere mortals into super-hero recruiters, and over 1,500 people just like you have invested in his training products in the last three years. Everything he knows is in a complete system, the 'treasure chest', which comes with a 'better than money-back guarantee': if you don't think it's worth what you paid, you get your money back and you get to keep the products. To find out more, click HERE

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