The Value of Relationship

I’ve been reading a book on sales by Chet Holmes called The Ultimate Sales Machine. It was given to me by a person I consider a mentor in my career. He’s incredibly successful and points to this book as one of his foundations for what he has achieved. If you’re not familiar with Chet Holmes, or his concept of selling, I’ll summarize; build relationships and keep them.

Mr. Holmes was one of the first to pioneer the idea of educational selling. You find out as much about your market, your clients and their needs, and research areas they are having issues in. Whether that is customer retention, legal or policy issues, or simply getting noticed you find ways to help them. Then you present your findings in a presentation that gives them real, usable information on their industry, what their competition is doing, and at the end a way that you may be able to help solve a few of those problems. I am really simplifying it but would recommend any sales person read it at least once

Through the course of the book the author says to make a list of your “top 100 clients”. These are the top 100 companies that if you made a sale with them would put you on top. I have in fact done this. You may be reading this now and might even be on my list of top 100. We are a pretty small industry and getting to 100 is a bit tricky. Once that list is made you begin reaching out to these prospective clients to see how best to serve them. Notice what word I didn’t use; sell. I said serve. That’s exactly what we should do to our clients whether we are offering underwriting for AVNation or trying to help them solve their latest huddle room issues.

You serve your clients by finding out about them. Yes, I could just call up a company I have no connection to and say “Hey, you should be an underwriter at AVNation cause we’re great, and you’re great, and together we could both be great”. No. Over the past six months of full-time employment at AVNation there have been significant ups and downs. It’s in those times that I remind myself why we are here. We are here to serve. You do that by finding out about your client, their needs, their fears, and what it is they are trying to accomplish. You do that by building relationships, finding out what matters to them; what are their interests, hopes, plans for the future, and how they see their place in the industry.

With all of the underwriters I have talked with, and those who decided AVNation wasn’t right for them, I have learned that each and every company and person is different. There are some manufacturers who need leads, who are looking to separate themselves from the din of advertising, and those that just want AVNation to continue our agnostic approach to covering this industry. All of those needs are valid. Through all of these interactions I have made some great friendships and relationships I never would have dreamed. These people inspire me and push me to be better at what I do. Your clients will do the same, if you let them.

As we reach our fifth year of providing news and commentary for the AV industry let me say my hope is that we always continue to provide an unbiased offering of what is going on in this industry. If we fail to deliver that, please let us know. You go out this week and connect with your clients. Find out about their interests and what exactly they are trying to accomplish. You’ll make some great friends along the way. I certainly have.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Have a great week.

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