I’ve been working with several new sales teams recently. One of the valuable thoughts I attempt to leave them with is: Nobody wants their stuff – nobody wants to buy anything from them. What they want, I tell them, are the results their offerings can provide (please don’t confuse results with benefits – they are not the same thing).
Just as they begin to truly understand the paradigm shift I am talking to them about, the inevitable question is asked (in some form) – “But, don’t relationships matter?”
So, to clear up any confusion – let me say – Yes, relationships matter. In the sense that if people don’t feel comfortable with you, don’t like you, or don’t trust you; they won’t buy from you.
However, just because they like you, are comfortable with you, or trust you, DOES NOT mean they will buy from you. Today, relationship building skills are the bare minimum - and, oftentimes, relationship means something very different than it did yesterday. Relationships are no longer (just) about taking clients to ball games, giving them tickets, buying them gifts, or yucking it up. I’m not saying that these things have no role in any industry (in some they do, in others they do not), I’m just saying that relationships don't trump compelling results.
So, yes, keep practicing your “Winning Friends and Influencing People” habits, just make sure that you’re creating compelling results in the process.