In my blog on relationships, I mentioned the old sales adage that ‘people buy from people’. I do believe that this is true, but I think that the company they represent plays an important role. While the slimy salesperson can sell ice to an Eskimo or a motorcycle to a blind man, they will never be allowed to return and in the end, it will catch up to them.
To build a strong relationship in a sale, the company’s value proposition must be part of that sale – as it reflects on the individual. For example, a company that is universally know in the market for their rather interesting business practices has lead many clients to comment to me that they do EVERYTHING they can to avoid buying from that company. Why? Because they have been disappointed in the past. It does not matter if the person coming into their office is a salesperson of integrity, the fact that they work for that company instantly puts up flags. A simpler example is when you drive into ‘Earl’s Used Cars & Ice Cream Depot’, you look at that rep and instantly make a value judgment which jades your buyer’s perception.
In the age of ethical explosions such as Enron, this is something for the sales rep to seriously consider as it will impact your ability to build relationships and be successful. When I left Dell, I made a brief pit stop at a hardware company. This company is universally know for its kill or be killed sales force and huge income opportunity ($750,000 year was not uncommon). I left after only a few months because I could not do it. I was not afforded the time to build relationships (Sales management pushed hard – do whatever it took to get that deal yesterday) and I did not feel good about the company.
In the end, as you build a relationship, the best salespeople stand in-front of their clients with pride. They know that they can offer that bond of trust because the company they represent will back them up. That is why I would change that saying to “People don’t buy from companies, people buy from people who represent quality companies”.
Now, how do you build quality relationships? That is for another blog.