Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Slaying the "Relationship based" sales model

Mark Jewell ruthlessly shredded the myth of Relationship based sales.

He proposed that relationships develop after a successful sale.  From the standpoint of a corporate minion, what is not to like about a guy who walked in and made you look like a hero?  Sure enough, that guy is now my buddy...after the project is completed and it made or exceeded its pay-back promises.  That salesperson is suddenly the font of bonuses and positive exposure.

Jewell then went on to describe how purchase decisions are really made.  Hint:  The purchasing department is about 15% of the process.  The pivot man is The Caesar.

The Caesars of the organization are shielded from information-overload and ambiguity by multiple layers of armor.  In fact, that is the sole function of much of the organization: To shield the Caesars from people like the Relationship Based Salesperson.

The way to defeat those shields is to prepare proposals that are sleek and unequivocal.  Think of them as rocket-propelled harpoons.  Harpoons are small compared to their target and they are densely constructed.  To be successful your proposal must be like that harpoon.

In this case, "dense" refers to the amount of information per letter, not "dense" in the sense of difficult to read.  Ideally, the information is embedded in minimalist, declarative sentences written with short, simple words.  Faulkner need not apply.

The proposal must present information in the order that most Caesars process information so their thought process is not forced to reverse itself. That would be the barb of the harpoon.  Once in, it does not back out. Momentum is your friend.  Exploit it.

The goal is to have the Caesar read the proposal in three or four minutes, hand it to his minion and command "Make it so."

The salesman who thinks he is working a "relationship" on the golf course is fooling himself unless his foursome include the Caesar.  Given their rarity, that seems unlikely.

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