(Sales Management) The Myth of Relationship Selling
R.I.P. SELLING'S MOST MISUSED SALES TECHNIQUE: RELATIONSHIP SELLING
Blasphemy? No, building good client relationships is as important as ever. The misuse of Relationship Selling is a matter of logistics: when and how good client relationships should be constructed, putting the horse in front of the cart.
“The Results Lead Sell”
For over five decades I enjoyed some wonderful relationships with my clients, but not through Relationship Selling as practiced today; rather, through elevating each client’s Top Line and company Net Value—which in turn results in building good client relationships.
Face it, Radio does a pathetic job of investing in and educating its sellers. Today, in companies of all sizes, Radio sales departments are overloaded with poorly educated sellers managed by poorly educated sales managers (poorly educated as sellers as well) who continue to poorly educate new sellers.
Radio Sales’ Death Cycle.
To Owners & CEO’s who take offense to that statement, I mean YOU! Unlike Radio Owners & CEO’s who excel in training their salespeople—“true” Radio Broadcasters—YOU are Radio’s #1 Sales Problem!
Absent what Radio salespeople should be taught, the basic tenants and principles of advertising at the very least, and deceived by the hypothesis that “the first law of selling is selling yourself”, no wonder so many salespeople take bloody forever to make a sale… salespeople I identify as SFRS: Sweetie Faced Relationship Sellers joined at the hip in fear of trying to make a sale before building good client relationships.
“But boss, it takes time to build relationships!”! How unfortunate, because that speaks more about that sellers timidity, lack of self-confidence, incapability of being assertive (selling advertisers for their own good!), their unwillingness to take risks and irresponsible sales training, more than anything else. As a matter of course, super glued on a plateau, SFRS…
1. Become complacent.
2. Take clients for granted.
3. Turn into SFRDS: Sweetie Faced Relationship Dependent Sellers.
4. Lose accounts to competitors working unceasingly to add "value” to client relationships.
5. Live off depreciating account lists, and eventually…
6 Turn into SFRDCB: Sweetie Faced Relationship Dependent Cry Babies having stopped prospecting for New Business long ago.
No, I cannot feel their pain. Relationship Dependent Sellers—“soft” sell to amarshmallow’s consistency as opposed to introverted salespeople who recognize when it is essential to sell assertively with enthusiasm and conviction—who fail to add “value” to client relationships (new ideas and concepts for expanding each client’s customer base) get what they deserve.
Raise your hand if you’d like to learn the secret of how to build strong, long lasting, money making relationships with advertiser faster? Here’s how…
Sell advertisers sooner, get results for advertisers sooner, and I guarantee you will build stronger, longer lasting, money making, relationships with more advertisers…faster!
The “Results Lead” Sell
Strangers before we met, you just walked into my computer store without an appointment, my biggest pet peeve, I’m immersed in taking inventory—the single task retailers detest the most—I stopped advertising on radio long ago, and worse, Costco, a huge Box store that sells computers for less, just announced it’s opening a store in my town.
Regardless, in five minutes or less you walk out with an appointment to make a presentation to me next Tuesday at 2PM. How is that possible?
Obviously, it is to every seller's benefit to be liked, trusted and respected. Please select the single impulse (above) you think most likely prompted me to give you an appointment in five minutes or less: I liked you, I trusted you, or I respected you? Which one?
LIKE: Call it chemistry or a spontaneous shared rapport, it happens doesn't it? What I characterize as a “reciprocal transference", i.e., you like someone you meet for the first time and that emotion becomes a shared experience. Meet someone you instantly dislike, and that emotion comes swooping back at you like a boomerang. That is how many relationships begin. Thus explaining why most salespeople, taught from day one that the first rule of selling is selling yourself, select LIKE.
I’m ruling Like out at the outset. Hitting it off with someone on a first call does not a “relationship” make. What are you selling, your charismatic personality? What should you be selling? H-E-L-P! That is what you should be selling! Besides, most prospects don’t get up in the morning to make a new “friend”.
TRUST: The second most selected impulse. Hmmm. How quick are you to trust a total stranger? How about a total stranger trying to sell you something? The fact is it takes time to earn trust, real trust, true or false? To be “trusted”, Rule #1 is keep your mouth shut; what a client shares with you is proprietary, confidential, “company” information.
RESPECTED: During a first-time-ever "Opportunity Call", what most sellers disparagingly refer to as "cold" calls, how many times in your sales career have you earned a Buyer's "respect" in five minutes or less, especially during challenging times like today? It takes time to earn respect, as well as trust, does it not?
What impulse would I select?
Respected! You better earn the Buyer's respect in five minutes or less, or your first impression will be the advertisers’ last impression…why, spending time with you is a waste of time. What follows is the most “basic” opening statement to make to a single location retailer.
"Mr. Garcia, my name is Dave Gifford, I’m a Retail Brand Manager at Results Radio. I don‘t know if you recognize me or not, but yesterday—after checking out Costco’s website—I made the Grand Tour up-and-down every isle of your store…and whereas we both know you can’t match Costco price-for-price—you have a tremendous local branding opportunity when it comes to…well…here, take a look at this… (handing Mr. Garcia the following 5” x 7” list)
YOUR STORE ADVANTAGES: COSTO’S DISADVANTAGES:
1. Fully staffed Service Department! 1-866-861-0450
2. Parts stock: Extensive! None
3. Apple • Sony • Dell • hp • Customized! Acer? • Alienware? • Dell • hp • Leveno
4. Outstanding Expandability! Poor
5. Extensive Accessories! Very limited
6. All Major Credit Cards including Amex! Amex only
7. 90 days same as cash! No way
8. Lease with option to Buy! No way
9. Recognized Community Involvement None!
10. Local business Local people support National Chain Box Store
VALUE! PRICE ONLY!
Mr. Garcia, this is what I do. I help local, independent retailers increase their store traffic, turn over their inventories faster, and increase their cash flow…and last night I came up with a Media-Mix marketing plan—not just radio—that will help you, one, ensure continued loyalty to your store after Costco arrives, and two, drive more store traffic to your store at the same time. All I need to prove how it will work for you is sixty minutes of your time sometime next week…which is most convenient for you, Monday at nine or, uh…Tuesday afternoons at two, any preference?
Excluding the time it takes to cover that list, the above wording takes only 75-seconds. In five (5) minutes or less, my approach would earn RESPECT for The Elephant Man.
Suggestion: During your next sales meeting, instruct your sellers (not a group assignment) to write down the specifics as to why they believe the above approach makes sense. For
example, identifying yourself as a Retail Brand Manager who works for Results Radio—in addition to positioning yourself as a retail specialist—invites the “What’s Results Radio?” question, thereby providing you an opportunity to expound on your company’s advertising philosophy and commitment to help local retailers get results (“The Results Led Sell”).
Next, in reminding them that salespeople have only one sales tool to work with: their native language, the words they choose, the order in which they place those words, and how they say and express those words, give your sellers a homework challenge requiring them to come back the next morning with the wording they would choose to improve my approach. It’s my wording, but I can see room for improvement. Note: should your sellers miss anything, there are some very telling subtleties you would be wise to point out.
When I was a Sales Exec I made it a priority to find out which of my competitors, and not just in radio, called on which accounts, i.e., which accounts were ripe for the taking because, rather than adding value to their client relationships (being a constant resource for solving sales problems and ideas to help grow their companies) my competitors were living off their lists; Consequently, their Account Lists became my Target Lists.
Obviously, “The Results Lead Sell” is the antithesis to Woody Allen's admonition, "Eighty percent of success is to show up". Show up for what? There is a huge difference between OVER servicing clients and OUT servicing your competitors. "You win with Solutions, not Smiles!"–Giff
BOTTOM LINE: STOP TAKING SO LONG TO TAKE “YES!” FOR AN ANSWER!
Dave Gifford has been helping salespeople and sales managers improve their skills for decades. Visit his website www.saleshowto.net or send a message to Giff at email@example.com
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