Your Client’s Temperature Is Affected By This
I conducted a sales training where we opened up with an exercise asking each sales representative to think of one great relationship they had with a client. They were asked to poster all things that made their relationship great.
As they took time to fill their posters with descriptions, I noticed the entire team had similar posters. There was something missing — in all of them.
One by one, the group elaborated on how amazing their relationships were. Perhaps I missed on my instructions in the beginning? It seemed as though we took a turn and began to describe our personal relationship status.
Should one ever mix business and personal — ever? Is business personal?
The essence of a healthy, productive and highly engaged relationship should come with a reciprocal agreement in your approach to the business relationship. YOU owe it to your client. Many times, we learn our clients on a personal level over time and while there are benefits in solidifying the softer side of relationships, you actually hurt your client more in the long run. Let me explain….
In surveying over 300 decision makers of varying levels, an overwhelming 86% say they noticed a slow decline in the business value brought to the table in less than 14 months.
Here’s what they noticed about their representatives (and admitted about their own behavior):
- Lost their consultative edge and advantage
- Skated over important details when conducting business
- Didn’t want to say “no” for fear of hurting each other’s feelings
- Felt they were put in a position of obligation
- Offered pricing concessions (great for the client) but client then fell to the bottom of the service priority line (bad for both)
- Spent more time cleaning up promises on the back-end
In the end, client’s actually admitted they found themselves unintentionally taking advantage of their representative. They were happy to go to lunch, continue to be responsive to their emails and calls while happily accepting the holiday basket every year. All the while, doing business with their competition.
So, does this constitute “cheating” in a professional marriage? Is there no option for divorce after you say “I do” professionally speaking?
They were establishing another business relationship (with your competition) where they felt more in control and less obligated. Where saying “no” was purely a business decision and not a personal attack on the friendship.
The decision to move from a consultative business relationship that is friendly to a friendship basis with your client can be devastating to everyone.
If you think there is not a difference — you are dead wrong.
So before you think about sharing Facebook family photos, take a moment and ask your client, “If we evolve into friends, how do you see it impacting our business relationship”?
Originally published at www.linkedin.com.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
For consulting solutions, public speaking or keynote engagements, contact her directly at email@example.com.
Personal note from the author: Born in Texas and now Florida based, my professional journey has allowed me to align, partner and lead powerful performance teams throughout the country. For twenty years I have helped evolve national and globally recognized private and public organizations. As a senior-level executive, I possess a keen understanding of the entrepreneur and corporate world from varying vantage points. Throughout my career, I have been privileged to build and mentor award-winning professionals and organizations resulting in long-lasting relationships. Consulting executive leadership teams, I have guided and built blueprints for successful sales and talent acquisition strategies. As a visionary, I have brought innovation forward to showcase operational efficiency while mastering the implementation of inspirational people development programs. These are just a few highlights of the many successes that have enhanced my relationships. I invite you to visit my executive e-Portfolio to capture a glimpse of my professional timeline. I look forward to imparting 20 years of experience with you.
All my best ~ CJ Rodriguez