The Japanese have had a very interesting concept in selling which is relationship focused. This type of selling use to be very common, but today the people who crunch numbers are bastardizing sales and are forcing good sales people to become order takers!
Many large corporations with a good size sales staff do not really care where the business comes from; they just want the numbers to satisfy owners and stockholders. In many companies the end of the month is panic time where sales people are forced to book business that has no future recurring sales.
A good sales person that builds a relationship with a client benefits in the long run, as the customer trusts the sales person and in many instances will not switch to a competitor even if the sale costs more money.
Referrals are a big deal with relationship selling. If a sales person has a long standing relationship with a client the client in many instances becomes an ally and spreads the word.
One area that helps a sales person is that they sell a product or service that they believe in and they are backed up by their company.
A good example of relationship selling with great service and backup is Apple’s small business group that works with small business owners. Apple bends over backwards to educate the small business owner with their products, solutions and service. Apple gets their price on all products and solutions and the customer is pleased to pay and comes back for more.
The Disney Hospitality Group also starts off by building a relationship with a meeting planner or travel agent who books corporate meetings and or family reunions. The relationship helps to understand the needs of the client. Disney backs up their sales people with great service and an experience that makes the planners and attendees very happy. Disney has a great formula and makes money with people wanting to book again.
Smart management needs to get back to some of the older methods of sales and relationship selling is profitable in the long run.