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The Sales Executive Council sparked a fountain of debate when they wrote the post “Selling Is Not about Relationships”. The title was certainly provocative. However, once you dug deeper, the point they were really making was that relationships do matter – provided they are the right type of relationship.
I would agree with this in principal – but I would also say that the importance of relationships ebbs and flows throughout the sales cycle.
Take prospecting, for example. Research from University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School shows that 92% of C-Level Executives never take a cold call or respond to mass email. Who you know and their connectedness to the right people in your prospect’s organization are key to your getting in the door and navigating the account.
This week, Heidi Tucker (sales star at InsideView) and I discussed this topic in the webcast “5 Secrets to Sales Success that All Top Performers Know”. Take a quick run through the section “Cold Calling Is Dead” to learn more about tapping into your relationships, and your company’s relationships, to find the right contacts at the right time to open doors faster:
Once into the account, though, you need a lot more than your relationships to carry you forward. With committee buying processes, you can’t golf, attend concerts, play poker, <insert your favorite activity> with every key stakeholder in the buying process. There are just too many folks to develop deep relationships with and not all of them are willing to extend themselves personally to become your ally.
Thus, the relationship is critical in getting you in and helps you establish first-level credibility, but from there you need to continue to prove yourself, deliver value and establish trust. And through this value, you start to win over those in the buying process who weren’t originally onboard with your approach – or in many cases, have relationships with your competitors. Relationships are still important throughout the sale, but in the prospecting stage, they can be the make-or-break between getting a meeting and getting shut out.
In our webcast, in addition to discussing best practices in leveraging relationships, social selling and enabling sales tools, we also covered 4 sales best practices in helping you drive the deal forward. To learn about the other 4 “Sales Secrets”, watch the replay. You’ll gain some great sales effectiveness tips that take you beyond the Relationship Sale.
Watch the replay now.
5 Secrets to Sales Success that All Top Performers Know
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