The MHEDA Journal - Third Quarter, 2014 - (Page 66)

SALES & PROFESSIONAL REL ATIONSHIPS MARKETING Personal/Professional Relationships With Customers BY GARY MOORE W hen I entered industrial sales from an engineering background, I assumed if I just showed the customer the features, advantages and benefits of my product, they would get the point and buy from me with maybe just a little price negotiation. Even before Excel, I thought it was all about the spread sheet. When I heard veteran salespeople talk about relationships with customers, I assumed this was some sort of exceptional golf course buddy-buddy friendship that could be overcome with, well, a better spread sheet, more features and a good price! As a sales veteran, I now understand the critical importance of what I call "personal/professional" relationships 66 MHEDA | with customer decision influencers. "Personal," because, by their very nature, all relationships between individuals are personal. "Professional," because relationships with most customers are different from friendships. They are personal relationships on a professional level. These relationships are based on mutual respect: respect for the responsibilities of both salesperson and customer; respect for each other's time; respect for ethics; respect for the interests and style of each (particularly the customer); and respect for the importance of clear benefits of these relationships for both persons and their companies. In this article I'll explore the benefits of these relationships to both seller and customer; how a salesperson can build and maintain these relationships with customer decision influencers; some key factors in these relationships including how they often trump business advantages, and how they differ from friendships. Benefits to Salespeople Building personal/professional relationships with customer decision influencers takes time and energy. Why bother? Strong personal/professional relationships give salespeople: *  ccess to opportunities, facilities, A other decision influencers, information ("Gary, here's our next project. Let me show you our storage area. I'll introduce you to my boss. Here's our list of key parameters, etc.") *  econd chances ("Bill, your proS posal is out of line with what we're looking for and with what others have submitted. Can you resubmit with...?") *  oaching ("Amy, your presentation C did not address our Safety Manager's concerns. I recommend you go see him and...")

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The MHEDA Journal - Third Quarter, 2014

President’s Perspective
From the Desk of Liz Richards
Editor’s Note
Ask Your Board
A Seat at the Table
Women in Business Trends
Happy Anniversary!
MHEDA at 60
A Powerful Marketing Advantage
MHEDA University Calendar
Best of the Best
An Untapped Resource
16 Tools to Build Your Service Labor Business
Personal/professional Relationships With Customers
Calling All Emerging Leaders
Omni-Channel Retailing
Design of the Mheda Disc Report
Convention 2014 Recap
New Members
Spotlight on Association News
MHEDA Milestones
Index of Advertisers by Product Category

The MHEDA Journal - Third Quarter, 2014