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Relationships Create an Unfair Advantage in Sales

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
November 1, 2017

There are reasons that companies have their purchasing departments lead the selection of their strategic partners. There are reasons that arm’s length buying processes exist. The goal is an objective decision as to who their partners will be based on certain criteria decided beforehand. Why do they seek to prevent salespeople from developing a relationship, you ask? Why do they want an objective decision?

The reason these buying processes exist is that people inside companies believe that relationships create an unfair advantage.

I know you’ve heard that relationship selling was dead. You’ve heard that economic value is what’s important now, and it is important, but it’s not the only thing that makes up commercial relationships. A good bit about preference is the decision as to with who your dream client wants to work, who they want on their team.

  • If relationships were dead, you wouldn’t feel the way you do when you get an RFP, and you wouldn’t wish you had a relationship that would tip the balance in your favor. You believe that a relationship would give you the advantage of mindshare and the advantage of preference. You might also have more information, things that could help you know how to influence others by making sure you addressed their needs.
  • If relationships were dead, you wouldn’t be worried when your longest relationship in your largest and most loyal client leaves the company. You also wouldn’t worry when the lead person on a deal you are working quits the week before you are supposed to sign a contract. The reason you worry when your sponsor leaves is that you know that relationship protects you from the risk of being competitively displaced.

All said, there is nothing more likely to produce better results faster than people who work well together and who are on the same page. Transacting lowers prices, not the costs that are increased by transactional relationships.

If you want an unfair advantage, you need to work on developing relationships. If you want to stack the deck in your favor, relationships create preference. Relationships are not dead, especially not as it pertains to sales, selling, and business more generally. This means you need to be in front of opportunities, and you need to wire the building.

Sales 2017
Post by Anthony Iannarino on November 1, 2017

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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