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Having A Relationship Doesn’t Make A Sale

Submitted by on Wednesday, 1 April 2009

A prospect of one of my coaching clients – an owner of a small sales training company – joined our call recently. My client wanted me to use my Buying Facilitation method on him to find out why he hadn’t made a purchase after 6 months of a ‘nice relationship’ and an ‘appropriate need’. I don’t know what my client told him to get onto the call, but the man showed up with great humor.

‘How are you currently training your sales folks?’ I asked.
 
“We’re not. We bring them together once a month, discuss product, and complain about not closing sales. And give each other advise.”
 
‘How is that working in terms of the results you’re getting? It must be working well or you wouldn’t be doing it.’ I continued.
 
“Sure. We’re doing our numbers, and have been reaching them consistently for years. So we’re fine.”
 
‘And, out of curiousity, what has stopped you from adding some skills training somewhere along the way?” I asked.
 
“My boss doesn’t believe it in. He says that we’re doing ok, and why fix something that isn’t broken. I’ve tried to convince him that we need some new skills, but he won’t hear of it. I got on the call this morning with you to see if you could call him and convince him.”
 
‘I am not in the business of convincing people – especially people who don’t think they have a need. I’m most curious as to why you’ve stayed in a relationship with John for the past 6 months if you knew you couldn’t buy any training from him’ I said.
 
” We like each other. We’re in a relationship.”
 
“And,” my client added, “I want to be there when his boss changes his mind.”
 
How many sales people are doing a ‘relationship’ sale, and just hanging around until the buyer is ready? Using Buying Facilitation, some folks can recognize a need that they hadn’t recognized, and are willing to take action they might not have thought of. But using convincer strategies and hoping that charm, good information, and possible ‘need’ doesn’t help someone decide something different. After all, they don’t think they have a need. And until someone thinks there is something missing that needs to be fixed, and the internal system/environment they live in is ready,willing, able to add something new, nothing will happen. And ‘convincing’ is useless.
 
If this man had worked with Buying Facilitation, he might have had a different conversation with his boss – and helped the boss work through any issues he had about what success might look like with additional skills, or what might be possible with skills training, etc. But trying to convince, no matter what ‘need’ the seller recognizes, just doesn’t work.