How strong are your business relationships? Do your business relationships extend beyond the sales transactions you complete every day? If you changed careers would you ever hear from those people in your database again?
The real question is this: Do you have RP – Relationship Portability?
RP is a key differentiating factor that separates sales reps from great sales professionals. A strong sales culture is made of sales professionals who have the ability to cultivate long-term relationships and continually build on them. A sales professional with great relationship portability knows that those relationships will stay with him or her as careers and jobs change over time.
In any business climate, good or bad, change is inevitable. Products evolve, become obsolete, are replaced by newer, better products. Sometimes companies go out of business, are bought out or merge. You may be offered new opportunities. When all these changes happen, the strongest asset you have is your RP.
Here is an example of a sales professional who understood RP. Jim sold paper to companies in a large metropolitan area. Even though we keep hearing promises of becoming a paperless society, it hasn’t happened yet. So someone has to fill the need for all the paper that cranks through printers and gets turned into business letters, direct marketing mailers, and award certificates. That was Jim – until a friend offered him the position of Vice President of Sales for his specialized software-development company.
Jim had a great relationship portability index (RPi). His relationships went far beyond just filling his customers’ need for paper. He had become part of his customers’ virtual teams. He anticipated their needs. He talked with them about the evolution of their businesses. He was an honest sounding board about the changes in the marketplace. He referred business to them and introduced them to other professionals in his network.
When Jim needed to start making connections to learn about companies’ software needs, he didn’t have to make cold calls. With his high RPi, Jim could call the people who had bought paper from him.
If you have a decent business relationship with a paper buyer, he or she can probably give you the name of a colleague who is in a position to buy customized software. Because Jim had a great RPi, his customers were willing to go far beyond that. They would call a buddy in the right department and introduce Jim. They would say, “If you need anything, just call Jim. He’ll take good care of you.”
They would tell Jim about someone from their Rotary or Lions club who might need software. They kept in touch with Jim as their careers changed as well.