You should hope the salespeople you compete against believe the big lie that relationship selling is dead. You should hope they decide to go without all of the many advantages that relationships provide. You should be so lucky.
The advantages relationships provide are many. Here are four advantages relationships provide.
A Platform of Trust
The most important thing that a relationship provides you when it comes to winning a deal is a platform of trust.
If you are going to offer your insight and ideas, a relationship will get you an audience. If you are going to upset the status quo with your next big idea, a relationship will get you the opportunity to do so. When your solution comes under attack from internal or external threats, relationships will provide you with air cover.
Operating from a platform of trust is one of the most important advantages gained through your relationships.
Allies, Advocates, and Influence on the Inside
When you are competing for an opportunity, relationships provide you with the allies, the advocates, and influence on the inside of the organization. Much of the selling that goes on in your dream client’s company goes on after you have left the building.
You need allies that will work on your behalf. You need advocates that are armed to act as your surrogate sales force. The power sponsors within your dream client company have more influence than most outsiders—and more than most salespeople imagine.
Access to Information
Some salespeople believe that access to information is the critical factor in winning deals. While it’s not the most important factor, it is better to have access to information than to go without it.
Knowledge that you can apply to your deal strategy can be powerful. Information that can help you tailor your offering to the many stakeholders you need to a win a deal makes a difference. Relationships provide you access to that information. Your power sponsors and stakeholder relationships can keep you informed.
A Second Chance
Relationships almost always give you a second bite at the apple.
When a deal comes down to two competitors and your dream client has concerns about the one of them that is you, you’ll wish you had relationships. When your new initiative is off to a bumpy start, your relationships provide you with the time and the support you need to get things back on track.
If you ever need a second chance—and you will need a second chance—you will be grateful to have the strong relationships you need within your client or dream client’s company.
All things being equal . . . well, you know.
What are the advantages of having relationships when you are competing for opportunities?
What are the risks of competing without the relationships that you need?
How do relationships build a platform of trust?
How important is it to have allies on the inside?
Does your strategy for winning deals include building relationships?