Closing a Sale — or Building a Relationship?

Selling is the quintessential business negotiation. There are two well defined parties: sellers and buyers. For buyers, the goal is to get the product/service that is the best fit at the best price. For sellers, the goal is to provide the product/service at the best price. But is that all that sellers should be looking to accomplish? In short, no! Sellers should be looking to build a relationship with buyers.

Selling is not just about price, it is about value, and part of the value is the relationship that is forged between sellers and buyers.

Approaching the selling process simply as a transaction, where your aim is to close the sale and nothing more, may be self-defeating. In business, there are short-term goals and long-term goals. Clearly, in a sale, the short-term goal is to sell the product/service at the best price. The long-term goal should be to create a relationship. Businesses need to concentrate on the long-term strategy to stay in business.

Approach the negotiation with an eye toward your long-term goal of developing a relationship, and do the following:

• Don’t focus on the price alone.
• Listen to the buyer: what is he/she looking for beyond what you are selling?
• Think about what you can offer that can create long-term value.
• Follow-up after the sale.

For more on this topic, Inc. Magazine has an excellent article “How to Close a Sale,” which provides some clear strategies for closing sale and to build a business relationship past the sale. Read the article here.

What do you do to build value in a business negotiation? Do you approach leads with an eye to the future?

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