Owain Williams, Sales Director writes: –
If you’re in Sales then chances are you have a decent opinion of yourself. If you’re hugely successful then your ego is likely to match. You might be great at hiding it (great salespeople are great actors) and you may even manage to convince people that fame and fortune hasn’t changed you. The reality though is that you’re the top dog who never misses targets, consistently outguns all your peers and, as such, your customers are blessed to be working with you and your employers are extremely lucky to have you on their side. You don’t need them, they need you!
I know of plenty of genuine examples of where this is the case and it suits all parties. What I am going to suggest is that maybe there’s a more mutually beneficial type of relationship.
Frustratingly, LinkedIn has, for lots of people, become another place to upload, like, share and comment on banal dross that shouldn’t belong on a business networking forum (you know who you are). Sitting in the middle of relevant and not are the many pictures carrying messages relating to how the customer has a choice as to where to buy. Basically, this message is saying that the salesperson needs the customer and not the other way around.
I don’t disagree with the message being conveyed here but I still think there’s a better attitude to hold; one that doesn’t undermine the other party AND allows both sides to win big.
As an employer, we understand the challenges of mentoring and supporting staff of varying experience and abilities. Fortunately, The Change Organisation is not a revolving door and we have been very successful in retaining key staff. Our people are the major contributor in achieving our ambitions so we are not shy in saying we need them BUT at the same time I believe all of them feel they need the infrastructure and support of the Company in order to achieve their ambitions. What really works is when both sides acknowledge their need of the other and stop trying to justify their worth to the other. Challenges will arise either when staff stop believing they need the Company in order to be a success, the Company loses faith in needing them to achieve success or it could be a combination of both. An industry veteran we know pointed out recently that he offers consultancy to a lot of customers who, instead of working closely with their staff to support their efforts, actually end up? recruiting them with a challenge to not fail. The attitude being that the employer doesn’t need the new recruit as, if they fail, they can be replaced. What a huge waste of time and effort!
The customer/supplier dynamic is very similar. In order to start doing business, a customer must be convinced of their need for the supplier and the products or services they offer. Concurrently, the supplier needs the business of the new customer in order to achieve targets and grow. In the early stages, neither side might disclose this to the other for fear of being exploited but, until they do, their relationship will only go so far. This results in one side not committing fully because they are unsure of how serious the other side are in wanting to work with them. Upshot is that the aloof stance from both parties just makes it harder to build a mutually beneficial relationship. This stage is where a lot of relationships stagnate and never progress past. The buyer categorises the supplier into a list with everyone else that they have no particular love for but may need them from time to time. The supplier knows this and treats the customer with the same respect they feel they’re accorded. Neither side believes they need the other and they both end up handling the relationship in this way.
The best relationships are built on trust and honesty. At some point, one side has taken a step forward by declaring……”you know what, I can show you the areas in which you need me however I need you for these reasons so let’s work together for the greater good.” When we can both say we need each other then we really are in business!
Teamwork makes the dream work.