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The New Relationship Manager: how to differentiate yourself

Submitted by on Monday, 14 January 2013

Until now, you’ve called yourselves relationship managers because you believe that by giving clients and prospects good service, advice, ideas, and professional behaviors you would prove yourselves worthy of being the chosen vendor. In other words, you’ve been using the title as a sales ploy.

But you all sound alike: No matter how terrific you are, your competition is probably equally terrific and your clients no longer give credence when the term is used.

What can you do differently to differentiate yourself ?

BE THE RELATIONSHIP MANAGER YOUR PROSPECTS CHOOSE

I’m going to make a few leaps here and assume that while prospects need your solution, you are one of several vendors they can choose. I’m also going to assume that you care about getting your solution into the hands of folks who need it, while taking good care of them along the way.

How will prospects choose you over the competition? What can you do differently to exhibit your care and expertise? Obviously doing the same old same old isn’t the answer.

I’m going to ask you a big question: are you willing to use a different type of behavior to both serve and differentiate simultaneously? At what point would you be willing to add something new to both benefit your clients and differentiate you? And a much bigger question: How far outside of the box are you willing to go to have this type of success?

I’m going to suggest a new approach to selling (I’ve been teaching it in corporations for 25 years, so not so new.) that will not only serve and differentiate but actually teach your buyers how to choose you over the competition. I’m going to offer you some new thinking that will enable you to facilitate your buyer’s buying decisions and close the sales cycle substantially while exhibiting professional Relationship Manager skills.

HELP BUYERS MAKE A BUYING DECISION TO DIFFERENTIATE

I developed the Buying Facilitation® Method as a front end to the sales process in the 1980s when I realized that buyers couldn’t buy until they got their whole Buying Decision Team in place – separate from their need – and the Team bought in to making a change. Beyond the sales model which was designed to places solutions (with no real skills to manage the buying decision process), it leads buyers through each stage of their unique, behind-the-scenes buying decision path so they can make the appropriate buying decisions and enable them to make a purchase. It will make you a decision facilitator in addition to a sales professional.

Buying Facilitation® teaches buyers – from the very first moment you are speaking and before visits or using the sales model – how to get everyone on board to solve their problem. It’s actually possible to teach them how to involve all of the Buying Decision Team members on the first call, so if you want to visit, they will all be waiting.

Instead of:

– asking if they have a need (which the person you are speaking with cannot fully define, nor necessarily speak for the entire Buying Decision Team),

– discussing your solution (not relevant until the entire Buying Decision Team has agreed what, where, how, when, why to change the status quo, regardless of need),

– assuming you have a prospect (A prospect is someone who WILL buy, not someone who SHOULD buy.) which you don’t, until they manage the change,

be a real relationship manager by helping them make the behind-the-scenes change management decisions they need to make to be ready to change.

A buying decision is a change management problem. They’ve had their ‘need’ for some time, and if they were ready for a new solution they would have purchased one already. Their need isn’t their problem; getting buy-in is the problem, and making sure their internal systems won’t face terrible disruption with your solution. And the sales model was not designed to do that.

Help your prospects

· get their entire Buying Decision Team on board,

· recognize it’s time to change,

· plan how to bring in a new ‘something’ with minimal disruption (They cannot buy until they do anyway!),

· get everyone in agreement that your solution would serve them

before you use your sales skills. Then you’ll be a real relationship manager and be differentiated from your competition. Until or unless buyers figure out how to get the necessary buy in and adoption plan, they cannot buy regardless of their need. By the way, the time it takes buyers to get necessary buy-in is the length of the sales cycle and where you lose your sales – not because of your solution.

Be the Relationship Manager who cares enough about their buyers to truly help them buy. Add Buying Facilitation® to your sales model, double your prospects, and halve your closing time.

Interested in learning Buying Facilitation®? Contact us to discuss.