Sales can be their own worst enemy. I’ve seen this time and again, restrained by the business model and an inflexibility to adjust to a changing market landscape or economy or simple arrogance. Before you come down on me for that line let me say this, I know that sales is hard, especially in this economy. I don’t wish to be a salesperson even though I have to be to some extent in order to promote my business. I know sales can get very little respect (and very large commissions). I know that there are quotas to meet, business models to follow, pricing structures to adhere too. Inflexibility, however, is a deal killer. Inflexibility arises when there is a lack of understanding of goals on either one side or the other, or both parties in a relationship. The inflexibility, in my opinion, comes about when there isn’t a true relationship in place.
It takes at least two people to have a relationship. Sometimes only one really maintains the relationship, however when you are in sales you have to be able to read your client (or potential client) and become the yin to their yang. I put the onus on sales because as sales persons our customer service skills are a tipping point.
During a recent consultation we discussed the pros and cons of the various software programs our consult was considering and made our recommendations. After a great exchange of Q & A regarding product features, customer needs, cost etc. all arrows pointed to one product. Fast forward a few weeks and I am told that my consult is going with a completely different product. Why? Because in their opinion the first vendor wasn’t willing to negotiate a small point; Small to the client, but apparently a break point to the vendor.
There are three sides to every story as we all know, yours, mine and the truth. As an observer I don’t know all the details to form an opinion casting one or the other in the right or wrong here. Frankly that isn’t the point. What I do know is that if there was a real relationship in place the vendor and this client would be happy and in one anothers company.
In the end it was the relationship that failed. Relationships Matter.