Church Sign: “Show me with whom you associate and I’ll tell you who you are.” I am not certain exactly how this plays into the Kingdom of Heaven. But, I can sure as hell see how it relates to the world of business. Your relationships reflect your character! Sales professionals, technology, brands, all make claims to provide a service or deliver a product for payment. Buyers trust that the web application will work. Customers believe that references and referrals are credible. But, after establishing terms and finalizing agreements, a seller’s interactions reveal exactly who they are. Their true character emerges.
• Relationships Matter – Beyond salesmanship, slick lines, and seven steps’ lists to closing the deal, business professionals have to connect personally. Sellers must care. They have to deliver. The open-ended questions and closings techniques merely demonstrate professional competence that initiates a relationship. These tactics do not really differentiate, but they do communicate proper business practices. Value cannot even begin until establishing this minimum requirement. Nevertheless, when pursuing business opportunities, sellers must build relationships by doing what they say. That means putting in the work toward connecting!
• Transparency Sells – Building like and trust are important, especially when the goal is long-term, highly profitable relationships. Scandals and schemes have taught us that business professionals cannot fool people over the long-term. Transparency simply means be who you are. Successful sales result when customers believe you. A professional’s reputation speaks loudly to their competence and integrity. Even the slickest professional persona will eventually be exposed, particularly when compared to genuinely transparent integrity. As a result of social media and professional networks, buyers can see into individuals and their companies. Consequently, sellers need to start with transparency and follow with flawless delivery. Be who you say that you are; it makes a difference.
• Value Endures – Once value goes away, so does the relationship. Buyers have choices. Sophisticated, high volume buyers have even more choices. Successful business professionals must reveal their character and it has to be about generating value. Delivering on promises and being a trustworthy partner builds that value. Validating and reinforcing trust is a cost-effective strategy, particularly for the customer. Consider a family that has been working with the same insurance company into the third and fourth generations. Very little marketing is spent on acquiring this new business in a ridiculously competitive field. Trust exists because value has been consistently delivered. Newer businesses have the privilege of establishing that legacy of value and profits now. This legacy only occurs intentionally. In all cases, value starts with trust and ends with service.
So, this is what it has come down to! People do business with people based on their character. Organizations, titles, and contracts do matter. But, trusting that another person will perform as promised is where transactions happen. The seller may be represented by technology, a brand, a team, or an army of subordinates. But the relationship with the buyer matters. Buyers and sellers can best get insight into the other party by observing with whom they associate. Pay attention to who knows them, who trusts them, and who endorses them. Examine the character of these individuals. Consequently, always choose your associations wisely. Your fortunes depend on it.
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond