Who is Number Two? Why You Need to Know to Lock Down Strong Sales RelationshipsBy George Leith
The only constant is change.
Professor obvious, I know, but I want to drive home the point that in 2015, we have to be always thinking three plays ahead; change is occurring at an alarming rate. I was on client calls this past week and was reminded of how fast things are moving once again. A few senior level executives and myself were enjoying (too many) single batch bourbons at a beautifully rustic bar in North Carolina, when one of the gentlemen said, “well, when I finally get replaced, you (referring to his number two), will get to run things the way you want.“
I was immediately reminded of the 15 such moves that had been made in the past year with major partnerships between our companies. Some of these moves had resulted in decision makers being moved out of key roles, and we had been displaced as the partner of choice, making a dent in my anticipated growth projections.
Many times one of the biggest factors affecting our budgets and whether we get that bonus this year are these types of changes that are beyond our control. We forge amazing relationships with the key decision makers to drive our ultimate growth goals, but sometimes, the real deal breaker on getting that bonus at year’s end is the relationship we have with the entire group at a company.
Now, it was probably the bourbon talking, but the senior executive was correct: regime changes happen all the time and the new guard will want to put their stamp on things. Having a good relationship with EVERYONE in the organization is key to maintaining those partnerships throughout the inevitable changes that will occur. Who is the number two in your top 50 clients?
I’ve always drilled into the sales teams I coach that building lasting relationships is the key to longterm success. A wise man once told me, “George we are all gonna make a lot of money. The thing I wanna do is make money with people I like.”
We want to work with people we relate to. Honest, hardworking people who are like us. Everyone just wants to be taken care of. Make sure we have everyone on our clients’ team on board. When those regime changes happen, if your relationship is strong with everyone, you won't be displaced.
Sometimes the change that occurs is the incumbent moving onto their next opportunity. This has happened many times this year, and every time, that key individual took our company and myself with them to the next opportunity. Many of my “leads” come from people I have worked with that move on, up, down and sideways. These people know that I look after my partners, and ultimately find a way to win for everyone. That knowledge is very powerful in driving new relationships. It’s not our parents’ time, where my father has had two careers in his whole 70-year life. In today’s business climate, we may move many times to new opportunities; sometimes it’s our choice and sometimes it’s not. Locking down strong relationships with entire teams will help us weather these changes and not be left on the sidelines watching.
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