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The Coming Flight to Relationships

You’ve heard that relationship selling is dead. It isn’t. And because we are human beings, relationships aren’t going anywhere, even if that doesn’t mean that our business relationships aren’t going to include some economic value creating component.

By my count, we’ve spent the past couple decades trying to turn our relationships as buyers and sellers into something transactional—all the while bemoaning the repercussions of that choice, like commoditization, disintermediation, low margins, and high customer churn rates. Clients have relentlessly complained about poor service, poor results, and a lack of caring.

We’ve chased the bottom for too long. And this is where it’s gotten us.

We are on the front end of a flight to value. And we are on the front end of a flight to relationships. We want relationships back—with all of the benefits that come with them.

We Want to Be More Than a Transaction

We want the people and companies we buy from to know us. We want them to know our names.

We want to know people. We want them to know what we like and what we don’t like. We want them to look out for us, to make sure that what we buy is really going to serve our needs.

We want the people and companies we buy from to go the extra mile because we have a relationship. We want them to anticipate our needs, to give us a heads-up when something that they know we would love comes available.

We want to trust them. We want to know that they will always do right by us, even when doing right might cost them a few bucks.

We want the people and companies we buy from to be worth paying more to obtain. We want them to deliver additional value, and we want them to capture some of that value.

We Want Our Clients to Be Loyal, Raving Fans

We want our clients and customers to love us. We want them to be loyal customers. We don’t want them to buy from anyone else, especially not to save a few pennies. We want them to rave to the people they know to buy from us, too.

We want our clients to know us. We want them to trust us. We want them to look at us as part of their team, their trusted advisors. We want them to treat us like consultative salespeople, not transactional salespeople.

We want deep relationships with our clients. We want the kind of relationships where we aren’t treated like a transaction and where we aren’t expected to behave like a transaction.

We want them to give us a 100% of their wallet share. We want them to pay us more than they’d pay the other guys, and we want them to let us capture some of the value we create. And we want them to let us help them invest enough to get the results that they really need.

We want the chance to do the work that makes all of this possible, especially creating the deep, trusted relationships that make our business more human, more value creating, and less transactional.

The flight to relationships is coming. For some of us, it’s already here.

Questions

How important are relationships to how you sell?

How important to you are relationships when you are making a major, strategic purchase?

How do your relationships add value to a deal?

Why are people more and more willing to pay more for the results they need?

Why are people more willing to invest in relationships, even if costs a bit more?

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