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Toss the Technology—Relationships Still Rule

Technology has its place, but nothing beats the person-to-person referral sale.

The Internet and other technology breakthroughs have fundamentally changed the way we do business. New technology is created at warp speed, and customers expect immediate decisions. This cycle of ever-increasing speed and sophistication not only creates an intensely competitive marketplace, but places further demands on our companies to act and react quickly. (Think about it: How often do you check, recheck, check again, and respond to email on your smart phone? Too often—yes, me, too.)

Ironically, whether a business is ultrahigh tech or low tech, the most important business decisions a customer makes are still based on personal relationships. There is significant research about why customers make buying decisions. Bottom line: it’s because they like and trust the salesperson and his organization. (Relationships matter, and trust is the foundation—don’t undermine yours. Read, “Trust: Get It Right the First Time”.)

First Impressions Matter

There’s a saying among salespeople that customers buy with emotion and justify with fact. If our customers don’t like us or don’t feel comfortable with us, they won’t buy from us. You can wow your clients with technology know-how now and try to win them over later, once they find out you’re honest and reliable. But the reality is, you need people to start liking you within the first few seconds of your relationship. That’s really all you have to get off on the right foot. And fancy gizmos won’t make that happen. But a trusted referral and a personal connection will. (Referrals matter. Watch the video, “Here’s Why Salespeople Should Never Cold Call”.)

Relationships Matter

Think about it—would you prefer to do business with:

  • Someone you’ve met only via a cold call, or
  • Someone you’ve met through a friend or colleague with whom you have an established, respected relationship?

It’s a no-brainer. Relationships power our lives, both personal and business.

Real-Life Results Matter

The most energizing and exciting part of sales work is the relationships with our customers—the interaction. Salespeople like learning about a customer’s situation and matching their solutions to the needs of their customer. (Read, “How to Seal the Deal with Real-Life Results”.) In an era dominated by ever-expanding technology, the creative, strategic part of our business is back. Yes, it requires brainpower. But isn’t that what we love about what we do? Indeed.

You Make Sales Matter

You (and the amazing, on-target referrals you request and receive) make the difference in your sales success. (Here’s a No More Cold Calling Top Tip, “How to Ask for a Referral”.)

What Matters to You? Comment Here.

What’s your greatest sales or business-development challenge? Comment here, and I’ll personally respond to each post. Join me in changing the sales world. Join the conversation.

5 Responses to Toss the Technology—Relationships Still Rule

  1. I own a web design and development company in Seattle Washington. I target small companies ($10-$15 million) in annual sales that employ a marketing manager. I prefer working with companies focused on supporting positive change either in alternative health, sustainability or other green related fronts. A good example of our work is a website and animation we recently completed for the City of Seattle: http://www.seattlecan.org.

    My challenge is connecting with the owners or senior management of those small organizations. I routinely call my existing client base, sponsor open houses every 3 months and attend networking events.


    How often would you suggest asking for leads? I call my clients on average every 6 months. Would you ask more frequently than that? How do you handle call fatigue? In other words, if you call too often, they stop returning your calls because they know why you are calling.


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