As a buyer for Trigard, I deal with many outside vendors. Thinking back through my purchasing career, I have probably sat across the desk from hundreds of people. It seems like I have experienced just about every kind of selling tactic, style, opening and closing imaginable. (Although I am sure there are a few sales ploys that I haven’t been exposed to yet. It seems new techniques are being developed all the time.)
Recently, I realized something interesting though. No matter what method a salesperson uses to sell to me, when it comes to large purchases, I really only respond to one technique− relationship selling.
A true story
There is a company that contacts me often. They want to sell me freight services. This company is a rather large company and is owned by another, even larger company. It seems that their sales strategy is to telemarket and email random companies, hoping someone will call them back. Often, I hear from them twice a week. Sometimes it’s an email. Sometimes a voicemail. Sometimes both! Usually it’s a different person each time, but occasionally I have the same person contacting me for a couple weeks straight. Invariably someone new will call and I will never hear from the previous person again.
The interesting thing is that I never return their calls. Never ever. They may have great service or may be able to save us money, but the sad truth is that they will never have a chance to tell me about it due to their tactics.
Unfortunately, this company does not understand how annoying it is to see their email or listen to their voice message for the eighth time this month. I don’t want annoying phone calls and emails, one after the other, all saying the same copy and paste message.
I don’t need a widget; I need a partner. I want a relationship.
I want someone to appreciate and solve my problems, to know me and the company I work for. I want someone who understands that I need more than annoying calls and emails. When a supplier has driven you to the point that you don’t even like talking to them, you have to question their tactics. In a relationship, both parties have to like each other. It just doesn’t work otherwise.
Throughout the years, I’ve learned the approaches I like and the approaches I don’t like, and frankly what works and what doesn’t. I can say that relationship selling has shown to be the most effective for large and repeat sales. I encourage you to continue to educate yourself dutifully and push yourself to learn to do what doesn’t come easy.