The Secret of Sales Is…

Dear Todd Cohen Sales Community members,

What do you think the secrets of sales success are? Is it a vast well of closely held, deep, dark secrets that only a few master, or is it there right in front of you?I have talked, held sales coaching classes, and lectured on this for years, and I’ve thought about my own successes and almost-successes, and I keep coming back to one common denominator.

Relationships That Are Strong, Sustainable, and Durable.
Trusting Relationships.

I am convinced, without doubt, that the biggest and best sales I ever had or managed were the result of great relationships and trusting communication that great salespeople nurtured over time.Relationships take time (we all know this from developing relationships in our personal lives), and they are well worth the time invested. Not only to close the sales, but also because the best ones are durable and long lasting.To this day, some of my closest friends are former clients.Nothing brings me more pride.
Here are some highlights that I have observed over the years:

  • Develop a client relationship the same way you would develop a friendship.Trust is trust.
  • Treat your new relationships with care and respect.Be yourself.Good relationships can weather storms and disagreements about your proposed solutions.
  • The relationships you develop with clients are relationships you are developing with people just like you who have the same needs and want to be in trusting relationships.
  • When you have developed a good relationship, you are a better LISTENER.Clients buy from people who listen to their challenges and issues and produce a solution that fits.
  • Be yourself (I just said this, but it bears repeating!).
  • Every client I have asked why they did business with me has said that in some fashion it was because I took the time to build a relationship.
  • It does not have to take a long time to build a relationship.That depends on how genuine and sincere you are. Clients see that, open up, and the relationship gains strength.I have seen some awesome reps leave after one call with the solid beginnings of a great relationship.

Finally, this is not something new or revolutionary!What it is is something we all need to be reminded of from time to time.In our days and lives as sales professionals, we are busy and running hard.Therefore, this is my reminder to our online community: Forge trusting and sustainable relationships. In the end, that is what gets the deal closed.

5 thoughts on “The Secret of Sales Is…”

  1. Michael KLusek

    I agree. Seth Godin talks about standing out by being remarkable. One way is by being the type of salesperson you advocate and focus on long term trust building.
    What a rare idea; a salesperson who really cares.

  2. Seems like from birth, we have always had a sense for who we trust and who we don’t. We feel comfortable around certain people, and uncomfortable around others. As a person who is a master at self-denial, I am unwilling to admit that I may come off as non-trustworthy, either in things I say or do or mannerisms or whatever. Nobody is going to come out and say that they don’t trust you, but their actions (lack of follow through with a commitment) send the message. I (and maybe we) need to think through the things that I do that might cause somebody to not trust me. Part of it Todd has nailed…..I don’t realize that good relationships happen over time. Thanks Todd.

  3. I like what George says here – about taking an honest look at our own confidence/self perception. For example, I’ve had great sales “success” over the past few years, but I think it’s due to the fact that I was in a market that really matched my skills and tactics. Now that I’ve moved into a bigger and, well, different market it’s taken me 6 months to realize that it just isn’t working as well as it used to. Time to evaluate what I’m doing. Thanks to George and Todd for their comments!

  4. These are all great points, but when it all comes down to it, I think the essence of sales is being able to share with people something you truly believe in, which will resonate with them if they share those beliefs. Certainly common beliefs and a shared mission are the foundation for any relationship, so it’s probably no coincidence that these things often go hand-in-hand.

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