Why You Need Relationships BEFORE You Need Relationships

Relationships are the foundation of sales, which is what the post  Sales Is, Was, and Always Will Be Relationships is all about. A comment on that post reads, “99 percent of my cases are: trying to build relationships based on the value I provide in my ‘cold’ sales pitch—and not vice versa. My sales pitch is only valuable if there is a need, pain, or if I can create a demand. No value, no relationship.”

The problems here are many, and they are serious.

Low Level of Value

You do not create a high level of value with your “cold” sales pitch. The value your product creates is Level 1 value, and it is the very lowest level of value you create, regardless of how wonderful your product is.

Pitching isn’t what builds relationships either. Caring is.

When you lead with your pitch, you are establishing yourself as a vendor, not a consultative salesperson, and certainly not a trusted advisor. We don’t get to decide whether our clients believe that we are their trusted advisor; our clients decide whether we have that level of relationship based on our behavior.

The Only Two Things You Need to Be a Trusted Advisors

You need two things to be a trusted advisor: trust and advice.

Relationships are built on trust, and advice is built on your business acumen, your situational knowledge, and your ideas about what your dream clients should be doing now and how they should be doing it.

If the only value you create is solving an existing need or pain, then you cannot easily occupy the role of strategic partner.

One of the keys to creating and sustaining relationships of value is to create value before claiming value. One of the ways you create value is by sharing your ideas with your dream client long before they have an established need. If you do this work well, you create the case for change, helping your dream client proactively address potential issues before they harm their business.

All things being equal, relationships win. All things being unequal, relationships still win. Your job in sales is to make all things unequal and create a strong preference for you and your offerings. But you can’t wait until your dream client has an established need to be known. You must be known for the value you create, and have built the relationships that create a preference in complex, B2B sales.

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