The Client Relationship
By Steve Lieberson
For a sales executive, building a relationship is critical to success.
For a sales executive, building a relationship is critical to success. This success, however, is not a quick process. Building a strong relationship takes patience and time but as you know sales executives are measured on quarterly results. So how do both the sales executive and the client both achieve their goals? In short it’s all about laying the proper groundwork.
At its core, “sales” is about what you can do for your client or prospect. It’s an investment in your client, one where your currency is your time and your understanding of their business needs. You differentiate yourself by being able to point out areas of improvement which establishes you as a thought leader, and ultimately someone they can trust. Without really knowing the industry and their business, it will be easy for a client to spot you as a fake. It’s a safe assumption that they already know the IT trends within their own industry, and they are constantly testing to see if we know them as well.
In an effort to ensure that my clients know our expertise, I sponsor executive briefings with our clients throughout the year. The objectives are threefold: First to discuss industry trends, second to discuss the road maps for the solutions they purchase from the technology manufacturers, and third to connect the dots on what their company objectives are and how IT can enable it. Meetings like this are precursors to annual budget meetings, but most importantly groundwork to insure my client relationships through industry changes that may arise.
There has to be a balance, a fine balance between making a sale and building a relationship. In my humble opinion and based on my own experience I would say a 5 year plus relationship constitutes success. No sales executive / vendor partner is around that long if you are not of value. By mere extension that means you are doing good business.