Business Relationships = Sales Success.

Last Updated Dec 4, 2007 7:55 AM EST

Business Relationships and Sales SuccessIt's often been said that B2B selling largely consists of developing a relationship with the customer. Most sales pros think that a customer relationship should like a friendship. Wrong. You can be friends with plenty of people and never get any business from them. So here's a secret that Jerry Acuff, author of The Relationship Edge in Business recently shared with me:

Business relationships are deeper than friendships.
I know that sounds wacky, but it's true. Here's why:

  • Importance. With a mere friendship, you're agreeing to hang out and enjoy each other's company in your spare time. With a business relationship, you are trusting that person with your career and your reputation and your ongoing ability to feed your family. (And the same goes in the opposite direction.)
  • Access. With a mere friendship, you get together when it's convenient, and if you don't show up, it's no big deal. With a business relationship, you have access to the customer when you want it and the customer has access to you when he or she wants it. It's not a matter of convenience as much as it is of integrity.
  • Intensity. With a mere friendship, discussions are give and take, but there's no "skin in the game." If your friend has a problem, you might help out, but in the end it's not your problem. When you have a customer relationship, you're duty bound to listen to each other in an unbiased way and make an unbiased decision based upon your mutual best interests.
To a large extent, your ability to sell B2B at the highest level will depend entirely upon your ability to build strong business relationships.

So I thought it might be useful to spend a post or two explaining how it's done. Stay tuned...