Carl was feeling frustrated and hurt. One of his best accounts was showing a definite decline in volume that was way beyond what could be explained by the market or the economy, and he could not imagine that he had done anything to create the change. Besides, the owner of the client company always said how much he enjoyed having Carl as a friend, someone he could count on to take care of him when he needed something taken care of, or some "special" pricing. Carl felt good about this relationship and felt he could rely on it to keep him as the preferred supplier no matter what. This situation made understanding why the sales were heading south all the more frustrating.
Carl is guilty of one of the most common mistakes many sales people make; getting his emotional needs met on the job. By letting the relationship cloud his judgment, Carl probably missed a few hints about what was really happening at this account. Instead of recognizing signs of trouble, Carl was sure that the owner would certainly have told his good friend if there was anything amiss or if another vendor was aggressively pushing for the account. At the worst, Carl would have a chance for the "last look" and was more than certain that the friendship was worth a couple of dollars more than the competitor's low-ball pricing.
The friendship stopped Carl from asking the tough questions because he was totally dependent on the concept of "relationship selling". He was giving favors in the name of friendship and expecting the same in return without having a clear understanding with his friend about the give and take.
Because we all want to be liked, Carl's situation is hard to avoid. How many times have you heard someone claim that a client had taken advantage of the relationship, and when questioned about making a change replied bluntly that business is business. Skilled sales professionals never forget that they are in sales to make money, not friends. That doesn't mean that you cannot enjoy both benefits of the sales world but confusing the two will lead to many disappointments and broken relationships.
In order to avoid the confusion that Carl is feeling, keep yourself from getting emotionally involved, and remember that your clients are business people first and friends second.
It is very easy to be like Carl. What do you do to make sure you have a clear separation of business and non-business feelings and relationships?
Final Thought for the Morning:
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.