It is 4 times easier to get business from an existing account where you’ve maintained high level relationships, rather than getting business from a new account. It’s 2 times easier to get business from an account that you’ve lost, for whatever reason than a new one. Why, because you have relationships – good ones and weaker ones.

Relationships develop when each party receives positive professional benefits from the other. That is, your client or buyer has business you want or contacts you want to meet, and you have solutions that s/he wants to his or her issues and challenges. If you both see the fit for each other, you’ll have the seeds of a relationship. A useful relationship can’t eventuate until you’ve delivered a positive impact and you’ve received a positive impact. Up until this point you basically know each other and there is no relationship to leverage for future benefits.

However, once either party has received positive professional impacts then he or she will be happy, or at least inclined to pay back. This is called The Law of Reciprocity and is very powerful.

Social relationships work the same way. However, social relationships are almost useless for business. They may help getting the interaction going, but their potential for leverage vanishes as soon as either party sees no career advantage. I always says, "You can be the God-father to your client’s child, but as soon as they see you’re not performing or they can get greater benefits elsewhere, you become history. However, you’ll still be the God-father."

The glue of business relationships is the an ongoing receipt of professional benefits from each other. In other words, “What have you done for me lately?” Both parties must continue to win for the relationship to stay alive and be productive. When business is slow, ongoing personal interaction is important because there can be a perception of benefits – for both parties.

Sales and business development people tend to avoid their high level contacts during business slow downs. After a few approaches, they back off because they realize no sales will be happening soon. This is a big mistake. They should be circulating through that organization interviewing to learn issues and concerns, keeping abreast of changes, and developing more ports of entry. Sure there are no sales, but you’re paying attention, which creates the perception of benefits. Conversely, if one does not keep circulating in existing accounts, it sends the signal of no interest and leaves the door wide open for competitors to stick their foot in.

This same neglect occurs when business is good. Sales and business development people are so busy, they ignore existing relationships. Management being busy also, neglects pushing relationship maintenance. Consequently relationships dwindle and you become one of a bunch of vendors. This is why market share says the same in good times and bad. When business is good, you thrive, and when it’s bad you suck wind. However, those that maintain relationships get what little there is in bad times and bigger shares during the good times.

Therefore, 50% of your selling and business development time should be spent calling-on and working existing accounts. 30% should be spent on lost accounts trying to mend fences and meet new people. 20% should be spent pursuing new and competitors’ accounts.

Common Situation

No Time for Relationship Building

Proactive efforts to meet with senior executives are only made when looking for an edge on an upcoming project. Visits at the lower levels happen regularly. As long as they’re buying some efforts are made.

Resulting Problem

There’s No Wins for the Executives

If you don’t stay current with the senior staff and they with you, you come across as “Only call me when you need me Sam.” Under these conditions they may help you once. After that, they’ll feel used. You’ll appear self serving and they will want to avoid you.

Check Yourself

Score: 4=Always; 3=Most Times; 2=Usually; 1=Sometimes; 0=Never.

1. Do you schedule interviews with senior executives (not managers or subordinates) to update your understanding of their corporate environment, their business, their threats and opportunities, etc.? ____

2. Do you call only to see if any and what projects are coming up?” ______

3. Do you call and/or follow-up with “Is there anything I can do for you?” ____

Scoring: 1 – 2 – 3 = ??

Positive is good;

Negative suggest you might want to learn how you benefit your client’s top executives

And now I invite you to learn more.

Positive Professional Impacts: What to do, - How to do it, and – How to feel comfortable doing it.
6 pages that describe how to be seen as delivering positive professional impacts;
Plus 3 complete strategies and tactics to show you how to bond with the top people;
Plus a “Tak’n It to the Streets” worksheet to get you comfortable for the meetings;
Plus an application story to show how it work in real life.

It’s all in this Problem Solving E-Book:

Bonus Tip: While you’re at this link, grab your free E-book “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers”

Author's Bio: 

Sam has put together his unique “Take’n It to the Streets” actions for you to feel you belong with any level or executive. Just click this link Elevate Yourself to the C-Level NOW 10 Strategies, Tactics and Techniques plus narratives and an example to show you how.

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