Are You a Salesperson or a Business Partner? | August 29th, 2011

I have found no greater satisfaction than achieving success

through honest dealing and strict adherence to the view that,
for you to gain, those you deal with should gain as well.
– Alan Greenspan

Growth and sustainability should be two primary concerns when building a company. You want to continue to expand your business, while ensuring that it will remain profitable for years to come. The best way to ensure marketplace longevity? Never forget to treat your customers as business partners.

If you have a business partner, you understand that you both need to benefit from any decisions made, because it has a direct effect on the company. The same holds true with your customers. For a business to truly be successful, there needs to be a relationship between you and your customer that both will benefit from.

Do you know the difference between a salesperson and a business partner?

The salesperson asks themselves “How can I make this sale?”.

This is a short term approach. Your first concern should never be to coerce a customer into buying your product or service. While it may help increase your profits in the first few years, it will not help your company’s sustainability.

Here’s an example: Have you ever been talked into a product or service, only to later feel that you made the wrong decision in purchasing it? Will you ever make the same mistake again? Would you recommend this business to a friend?

The person that sold you that item was likely a fabulous salesperson. They probably had a well rehearsed dialog to convince you to make that purchase. However, their sales are based on making a one-time connection with a customer, not on building a long term relationship of trust. Eventually the pool of new customers will dry up and the business will crumble, even if it showed great potential for profit initially.

A business partner asks themselves “Will I be able to help this person?”.

This is the win-win approach. Yes, its possible that you may lose a few sales, but your company will develop a reputation for honesty and integrity. Taking the time to discover your client’s needs, and making sure that your product or service is a good fit will pay off. Your relationships with your clients will be long lasting, and your sales will begin to build momentum. The success you find will be long term.

For example, what if you went into a business and were sold exactly what you needed – no more, no less? How about if a business told you that their services were not a good fit for your requirements and recommended a competitor that could fill your needs better? Even if you didn’t spend any money with this person, would you recommend that company to a friend? Would you return to that business if your needs changed?

When you take the time to listen to your clients, and truly look out for their best interests as you would a business partner, you establish long-lasting relationships that will sustain your business for years to come. When both you and your customer benefit, everyone wins.


Like this article? Read: The Art of Listening

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