Choosing To Compete for Transactions or Relationships

There are two ways to think about acquiring new clients and new orders. You can start from a transactional approach or you can start from a more strategic, consultative approach. The distinction is important.

Transactional

A transactional approach is centered on acquiring orders. Orders are, in fact, how you get paid. The client places an order, you deliver it, and you send an invoice. And for some of your clients, this transactional relationship may be enough.
But when you play at the transactional level, you are perceived as transactional value. Fine, if this is what you want. Being transactional will get you some orders. But it won’t get you the relationship you need to produce bigger outcomes.

Relationship 

When your approach is strategic and consultative, instead of focusing on orders you focus on developing deep, trusted relationships. Instead of focusing on order acquisition, you focus on understanding your clients needs so deeply, and creating so much value around those strategic needs, that instead of acquiring orders, you acquire all of your client’s orders.

Acquiring the client relationship is what opens up the possibility of getting all of their orders—even though it takes longer and is a more difficult outcome to obtain.

The Difference

Client acquisition and order acquisition are different. Order acquisition is transactional. It’s about taking orders, and that puts you in a contest for price. If the transaction is what matters, then the value being created is only a low-level of value.
If you are instead focused on client acquisition, you have the opportunity to dig deeper and find additional ways to create real value. A more strategic level of value. You get an opportunity to design a solution that solves a bigger, more future oriented challenges. This not only earns you the right to acquire all of the orders, it earns you the right to do so at a higher margin. You are earning that higher margin by delivering greater value.

Filed under: Relationships, Sales 3.0, Trust, Value

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