I have found many sales professionals become unusually comfortable with large contracts over time, seemingly believing they have a “right” to the business. This is a dangerous trap, as it can create a strong sense of doubt in the eyes of the buyer.
It is true that sales is based on building a trusting relationship, however the relationship must be cherished and supported by both the buyer and seller. Reaching out to my friends in the Sales profession, here are four tips on how to best maintain a long standing relationship with a key Buyer.
1. Prove it. Rather than wait for a buyer to be approached by your competition with a price that is more attractive than yours, continue to provide proof that the pricing, return on investment and overall value that you are providing is competitive with, if not exceeds that of the market competition.
2. Every day is your first day. Never act as if you have a right to the business, regardless of how many challenges you have solved or how many times you have rescued the buyer or his organization. If you can’t treat the buyer as an ongoing high priority customer, your competitor will
3. Monopoly is a thing of the past. Historically a company may own the proprietary rights to a specific piece of equipment or a process, which allowed the seller to charge more and support less. With the ever emerging global economy, having a monopoly is a thing of the past. Technology continues to provide reverse engineering solutions and alternatives to services or products which were once believed to be proprietary. Always treat your customer as if your competitor is knocking on their door…. Because they are.
4. Service, Service, Service. It is impossible to service your customer enough. Treat them with respect, candor and provide a sounding board for their thoughts. Understand that many business owners and executives have multiple priorities, of which you may not be a part of. However, if you continue to treat your customers with the respect and support they require, you will slowly move to the top of the pile.
In light of increasing competition and an expanding global economy, building relationships via face to face interaction, courteous service and competitive prices has never been more important.
© 2010 Shawn Casemore. All rights reserved.