I just received a note from a client with whom I have a great relationship. It reminded me of these stories, all true.
The salesperson had a great relationship with her client. They spent a lot of time together, and they worked very closely setting up a solution that really worked. When the client got in trouble with a messy legal issue, the salesperson’s advice helped the company out of a seriously complex issue. This salesperson’s competitor dropped off doughnuts and other treats to her client each week, attempting to open the relationship and make a play to displace her. When the competitor left the food stuff at the client’s office, the client called the salesperson to come over so she could share the competitor’s snacks.
Another salesperson with a strong relationship had competitor’s who would drop off their pricing and competitive proposals with his client almost weekly. The client saved all of their proposals and prices. Then, when his salesperson showed up to visit, the client handed the salesperson all of his competitor’s proposals, including their pricing.
A salesperson had pursued a client for seven years. Over that time, they developed a relationship. When the prospective client decided to make a change, she had three meetings with the salesperson before she met with her internal team to discuss putting the business out to bid. She worked with the salesperson to develop her needs. The salesperson was the most expensive of the four potential partners. All four presented, and the prospective client’s cohorts liked a lower-priced provider. She brought the salesperson into meet with her team a second time. They bought from the salesperson at the higher price.
I could write dozens more stories where the salesperson’s relationship helped them win or retain business at a higher price because they had a relationship of value. The relationship either allowed them to win or to avoid competitive threats.
What the ROI on relationships of value?