Years ago, I was asked to join a meeting in Toronto to discuss a strategy for pursuing a major program in Eastern Europe. I was VP of Sales for a manufacturer, and one of the vertical market managers on my team was being asked by an integration partner to join in the pursuit—a very time-consuming and expensive pursuit.
No matter how hard I tried, I could not find the program to be a qualified opportunity worth the investment. As I continued to ask questions, I increased the tension in the room to a point of discomfort, but I had to understand the data.
Then, the integrator’s senior manager leaned over the table and stared down at me as if he were 10 feet tall, and deliberately said to me: “Son, you are much too young to understand this, but data doesn’t win programs like this, relationships do.”
I consider that moment a turning point in my career. With a dozen sets of eyes on me, and a man who was managing sales teams (when I was learning long division) smiling at my apparent defeat, I knew I was right, and I realized that the ‘relationship’ statement was just overplayed.
However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, I believe relationships are huge factors in selling and, many times, can override data. Hence, my question for you:
Are relationships THE most important factor in selling? Please share a story or something you’ve seen someone else do.
By the way, I made the unpopular decision not to pursue the program above. It never happened … no one won the program because it ended up not being funded.
Chris Peterson, Co-Founder and President of Vector Firm, has nearly 20 years of experience in sales leadership, with a focus on developing strategies, processes, and tools for technology businesses in the security space. Chris has had the privilege to experience two IPOs and several acquisitions so far in his career—calling the events ‘the best training a business leader can experience.’
Vector Firm is the premier training and management consulting firm focused on sales and business development operations. They create intelligent strategies, repeatable processes, and effective tools that position your sales professionals to drastically surpass their goals.
Vector Firm’s key differentiator is their philosophy on selling. They believe that sales is a science, and a systematic approach tailored for each company will create a pull-through dynamic for every salesperson to completely dominate their market or territory. Everything they do is based on this philosophy. For more information on Vector Firm, please visit http://vectorfirm.com/.