How to Develop a Sales Process Based on Relationships Part 03
But Relationships With Who?
Most salespeople don’t know who they are talking to. Titles, social media profiles and assumption are the three most popular tools used to find the “decision-maker,” and usually this is done far too early. Top salespeople understand that by approaching a decision-maker without a solution based on their specific requirements, they can be seen as disrespectful or lazy. Relationships with top decision-makers are crucial of course, but an important part of a good relationship is respect, and wasting someone’s time is disrespectful. By working with the right people at the right time, a good salesperson can cultivate relationships at crucial points within the organisation.
The Three Types of Sales Contacts
The information-based contact is the person within the organisation that is more than happy to explain what’s going on within the business, and will often do so over coffee. Perhaps considering the salesperson a friend, they don’t have any decision-making power and are not directly involved in the problem itself, but are useful nonetheless for beginning the research stage.
Information-based contacts are often used poorly – salespeople meet with them but they never yield any results. The purpose of an information based contact is to gain access to a problem-based contact.
Problem-based contacts are those members of the organisation that are directly experiencing the problem. After the information-based contact has communicated what the problem is and who is responsible for it, the problem-based contact becomes crucial. They can explain the impact of the problem, and how it relates to the business itself.
Problem-based contacts may not be the decision-maker but will provide the necessary information to make an approach to the decision-maker useful.
Finally, the decision-maker can be approached. Having taken the time to learn about the problem in a strategic and respectful fashion, time with the decision-maker is well spent. No longer “pitching a product,” the salesperson can now explain the problem, the impact that the problem is having on the business and how their solution can rectify the problem in a timely fashion.
The decision-maker may not understand the full impact of the problem. By taking the time to research this with the problem-based contact, the salesperson has added tremendous value before the sale is even made.
True relationship based sales means that interactions with contacts are respectful and add significant value. By understanding how to effectively approach an organisation in order to add value, and being respectful of everyone’s position within that organisation, a relationship is started based on trust and mutual respect.