by Jim Cathcart
author of “Relationship Selling” and “The Eight Competencies of Relationship Selling”
In 1985 my first Relationship Selling book was published in hardcover and a few years later it came out in softcover with Putnam Berkley. Upon arrival it was met with skepticism. People asked, “how can selling and relationships coexist?” Well, today we laugh at that question as being incredibly naive.
But even today there are those who think of “Relationship Selling” as merely being nice to people while hoping for a sale. That, too, is incredibly naive.
A relationship is a connection between people in which value is exchanged. To make a sale without establishing a trusting relationship is to be merely a vending source. But to build a high-trust relationship with someone and to also make a sale puts you in the position to easily get all the future purchases from that person. In other words, with a relationship, one sale can be the beginning of a lifetime of orders.
A Mass Mutual sales trainer Doug Macdonald once told me, “Jim, for the first 5 years you are in sales you will be underpaid relative to how hard you work. But if you form the right habits and develop the right relationships you will be overpaid for the rest of your career.” How true!
We need to see “Relationship Selling” as what I originally described it as being: a form of business friendship. We should become the business equivalent of a good friend to our clients. When we seek to serve them in that way we will find that every year our sales will grow without us having to increase our sales efforts. We will build on each sale to expand our network of high-value relationships.
Please let me know anytime I can be helpful in your sales efforts. Jim Cathcart