Robert-photo-w-icon-150-4-7-10-FINAL4-150x150Successful sales people see themselves as problem-solving business partners rather than peddlers. Building enduring customer relationships is their objective, not selling without knowing how customers will benefit.

Sales people who seek to be problem-solving business partners first learn what makes their company distinctive in the marketplace and how their unique offering makes money for their company. Then, they leverage this knowledge to produce quantifiable value for their customers. A customer’s current process is their competition. They strive to help their customers grow and make money, earning the trust that is the essential ingredient of enduring relationships.

Peddlers focus more on themselves than on their customers. How can they convince customers that they offer the lowest prices? How quickly can they complete a transaction and turn things over to the inside team? How much do they have to sell to get a larger bonus? Aren’t they just a commodity to their customers?

You are a peddler when:

  • You respond to inquiries with quotations that specify product or service, price, terms and schedule, without first seeking to understand how you can produce strategic value for your customer;
  • Your dialogue with your customer focuses on their current problem, and how you are cheaper, better or faster than your competitors;
  • You communicate nothing that describes your distinctiveness, nor propose any means for your customer to evaluate the quantifiable benefits of your unique offering;
  • Your production personnel know little about your customers or how your company’s unique offering is really a promise delivered by them;
  • You don’t recognize that you are being commoditized!

You are a partner when:

  • You learn your customer’s goals, and propose solutions that help achieve them;
  • Your customer dialogue focuses on building their business, resolving their current problem as a step towards realizing their purpose and future vision;
  • Your proposal clearly describes your differentiation and how it will be leveraged to produce a financial and a competitive advantage for your customer;
  • Your production folks are aware of your customers and are aligned to support your unique offering;
  • You recognize that collaborating with your customers is the most productive means of achieving growth.

Evaluate 5 key customers – are you a vendor or a partner for them?

Ask your customer-partners what value you produce for them?


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