How To Forge Long-term Sales Relationships

In this article I’m going to talk about the two key traits in sales which are crucial to ensure that you maintain long term sales relationships.


It’s no mystery why we as sales people want to forge long term sales relationships, the longer the relationship the longer the period of time that the person buys from you. It’s the difference between one years’ worth of sales and ten years’ worth of sales from one customers.


First I’m going to start with an example of a real life sales conversation I witnessed a few weeks ago. In this example there were two sales people both working with the same customer. The saleswomen worked as the internal account manager, the salesman worked as the external account manager. They were arguing over a certain circumstance whereby the customer had contacted them both to ask for a quote on a laptop. The customer was slightly naive, they knew very little about IT and thus were leaning on both the account managers for their advice.


The account managers both discussed their views and an argument ensued due to their different outlooks which were:


Salesman – his view was to take advantage, he solely looked at this as an opportunity and positioned to sell them the highest spec’d laptop they could to make the most profit as possible.


Saleswomen – her view was completely juxtaposed. She pushed to sell them the laptop that was the right fit for their use case, not simply the most expensive.


Now categorically the saleswomen had the right approach over the salesman, it helped that she had an extra 10 years’ experience over him which was probably why she took this stance. But this example highlights clearly the two traits that are essential for long term sales relationships.


Those traits are

  • Honesty
  • Integrity

Sales icon - Long Term Relationships


We don’t want short term gains for long term sacrifice!


The salesman in this circumstance didn’t display these traits, the saleswomen did. Imagine if they had opted for the salesmans approach. Yes they may have made more money in the short term, but what if the customer found out? If the customer learnt of the fact you’ve been overcharging and selling them overspec’d solutions do you think they’d stay with you? By no means! Is the extra money in the short term really worth the risk?!


If we focus on being honest and maintain our integrity at all time then we will forge the long term sales relationships that we desire. It’s all because it creates trust!


I worked with a sales icon recently and he lived by these two traits of honesty and integrity. He was booked a meeting by his telemarketing team to go and meet with a school to discuss a solution. He met with the decision maker and long story short he gave them honest advice which led them away from buying his solution. Sounds peculiar but he listened to their use case and what they were doing and he advised not to go with his solution as it wasn’t the right fit, that it would cost them too much and they wouldn’t get the benefit from it. He advised instead of another route for them to look down.


Then six month later that very same decision maker gave him a call. She was so impressed by his invaluable honest advice that she wanted to pass some more opportunities his way, which were worth much more than the original opportunity.


This sales icon had displayed bountiful levels of honesty and integrity, his focus was to Do Right By The Customer. In return for his amicable approach he developed a high level of trust. If he continues with this approach he will forge long term sales relationships!


So with your next sales interaction, think long term. Focus on integrity and honesty and you will forge both the relationships and the sales you desire!


For more great insights like this do follow the blog and look out for the soon to be released book Sales Icon: Selling in the Shadows.

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