A Sale Is Just Like Marriage
By Ibby Smith Stofer
In marriage, the process is not over when one accepts the proposal or when a couple walks down the aisle.
Likewise, a sale is not over when the deal is accepted or the transaction goes through.
No, the process is much longer and quieter than an engagement and wedding celebration.
The marriage process usually begins with courtship. It can begin with a blind date where neither knows anything about the other, but more often than not both parties have done some investigation into the other party’s offerings and needs.
Assuming that is true, there are some steps that will allow the courtship and hopefully long lasting marriage to have better odds of success.
Both parties must know who they are dealing with. Do your homework on the account and or the supplier, as well as the reputation of the individuals you are working with both professionally and personally. What are their preferred styles of communication, history with the other party and whether the offering matches the needs?
You would not potentially marry someone without knowing that you have a good chance of success. Well, neither party should enter into a business partnership that does not have a solid foundation of trust and knowledge of how each will benefit from the relationship.
Honesty and direct discussion through interactive questioning and active listening throughout the sales process will allow you to develop mutual understanding of what is needed and what you can provide. This is crucial to the success of either a marriage or a business partnership.
You would not want to end up married to someone who aspires to be living on a remote undeveloped island when you want to live the active city life would you? By asking key questions and exploring potential outcomes the needs, desires and wants can be uncovered and through honest discussions these misunderstandings and potential disappointments can be avoided.
Willingness to work together and compromise is another trait shared in marriage and business relationships. If one party is doing all the giving and or there is an unwillingness to consider the other partners views, both relationships will most likely not survive.
Consider how you would feel if you were the one who had to always compromise or set aside your feelings or needs. You would probably be miserably unhappy with the relationship.
Winning the sale is only the beginning. If you are lucky enough to win the business your journey has begun. Now building and maintaining those relationships, the respect and trust is critical.
Like in marriage one must continue to work on communication, collaboration and open honest feedback. If we ignore this in our business relationships the end result may well be a competitive replacement and much ill will.
So with these thoughts in mind, remember to court throughout all of the sales cycle: from the beginning, in the middle and at the end. Never assume that your proposal will be good enough to stand on its own without your continual care and nurturing. Best of luck!