January 05, 2009

Sales Success - from transactions to relationships

Three quarters of the sales world still operates on the basis of transactions, not relationships.  That is the outdated 'wham-bam-boom' model that relies on the prowess of the sales person and still believes in slick one line deal closers. 

You get the deal and then you move swiftly aloneg to the next – after all it s a big marketplace and the next prospect is ripe for the picking.  The life time value of the customer is a clich√©, because it is today's sales commission that matters.

Picture this; a sales person waits his turn at the sales meeting.  Then when asked for an update he launches enthusiastically into describing the 4 great meetings that he has had over the past 4 weeks, the 5 new high level contacts made, the great conversations, the burgeoning relationships, the trust built, etc. 

Tapping his pen impatiently on the desk the sales manager can hold back no longer and asks with impatience 'are you going to reach your number for this quarter?'

While long term success depends on building relationships with customers and potential customers, most salespeople are measured on their numbers this quarter and pretty much that alone.   Other signs of this are the lack of a process for nurturing leads, the lack of a process for growing key accounts, an over-reliance on traditional proposals prepared in isolation of the prospect, etc.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Very valid description of the average salesman's situation - and the very lifelike picture you paint of the short-termist sales manager is regrettably very frequent.

As well as simple short-termism, I've found that many companies lack a way to identify their true Key Accounts, and to understand exactly why they are dealing with them. It's not all about simple turnover - as I say in my report, available at www.key-accounts.net, there are 5 typical mistakes sales managers make when dealing with Key Accounts - and treating them like other accounts, only bigger, is one of them.