The ART of business relationships is Authenticity, Relevance and Trust.™
Although most sales programs focus on building trust effectively (and they should), seldom is Relevance discussed or recognized. Here’s the question: If your prospect/customer trusts you, but you don’t regularly demonstrate your relevance, are you truly a Partner-Advisor to your client?
Relevance is critical. Today, buyers are too busy to take a meeting or have another conversation that doesn’t add value to their day. Value is delivered by addressing an issue that is at the top of their priority list or by asking questions that help your prospects/customers evaluate their business in a new strategic or tactical manner. Irrelevant sales people rely on the “buddy” approach, but are not truly engaging with their prospects/customers as a Partner-Advisor. Often, I encounter sales people who believe it is their company’s responsibility to create programs or pay to make them relevant. I couldn’t disagree more! Although it is ideal when a company does invest in its people, in the end it is the sales professional’s responsibility to make himself relevant. This self-responsibility is what separates the sales person from the sales professional (and often the unemployed from the employed)!
RATE YOUR RELEVANCE:
• Do I know my prospect’s industry?
• Am I an expert in my field?
• Am I better than my competition at anticipating and solving problems my prospect/customer encounters?
• Do I leverage corporate sales training programs that make me more valuable to my prospect/customer?
• Do I commit time quarterly to reading relevant business books/materials?
• Do I master a new business skill quarterly?
• Do I have a mentor or mentor others?
• Do I write articles, blogs or white papers that address priority topics for my prospect/customer?
• Do I actively bring new relationships/best practices/tools to help my customer/prospect?
• Is my good work recognized?
If you scored well on the first 9 questions, the last question may be the most important. If you feel a twinge of self-promotional conscience telling you that recognition isn’t important, you have business opportunities running through your fingers! If you believe word-of-mouth is enough, you will lose business to less-capable competitors. Resolve today to put a plan in place to let prospects know you exist!
Are YOU relevant?