The Invisible Exchange That Confirms Your Relationship is Solid
In a previous post, I discussed the importance of building a stronger relationship with a buyer. Let’s evaluate this buyer-seller exchange a little bit further. What key indicators can you use to determine the value you bring your clients and whether they recognize it and reciprocate?
One of my favorite parts of the Relationship Quotient (RQ) training program is what we call the “value model.” It’s a simple design but it illustrates a vital piece of the decision-making process in any transaction. In any purchasing situation there is a buyer and a seller. The value model is a visual representation of the key relational elements of both buyer and seller.
The Buyer and Seller's GPS
You, the seller, have your own goals, your own passions, and your own struggles, which we call GPS. Generally, your job is to achieve your business goals by selling your product or service. Yes, we could have a deeper discussion about how your job goes beyond selling and that you’re ultimately solving problems and improving things for other people.
To keep things simple, (which is something I love to do), think of it this way: You are a seller. You have business goals. To achieve them you need to sell. To sell, you need a customer. And that’s who’s on the other side of the model – your customer or prospect. That customer or prospect has their own GPS (goals, passions, and struggles). If your product or service helps them achieve their goals by overcoming their struggles, there’s a possibility they’re going to buy from you.
Remember the Principle of Worthy Intent
The value model in the RQ training program is comprised of elements that include understanding your goals and that of your buyer. Next is the fun stuff.
The bottom portion of the value model reveals the essentials of how you launch, build, and maintain a business relationship, and confirm it is solid. It boils down to two very simple ideas: one that you exhibit and the other you hope the other side exhibits.
From a relational standpoint you must display what we call Worthy Intent. Worthy Intent is the inherent promise you make to keep the other party’s best interests at the core of your business relationship, consistent with your own best interests. That’s a mouthful, but it’s an essential mouthful. Do you do much business with people who don’t have your best interests in mind? Do you build important relationships with those people? Probably not. Why would you? Even if they’re the only game in town or a single source, chances are you’re open to switching, right? That’s not a solid business relationship. That’s a relationship ripe for a breakup.
So, you must keep the other person’s best interests at the core of your relationship but doing so is fruitless if they are unaware. If the relationship is to blossom, they need to know your intentions are pure, and you need to know they know.
How are you supposed to know they’re aware? You could try asking them, but that would probably be strange. “Hi Jane, are you aware I’ve been keeping your best interests at the core of our business relationship?” Don’t do that. A less-strange way to determine if your worthy intent is being acknowledged is to examine whether you are on the receiving end of affirming behavior.
Look for Affirming Behaviors
What is affirming behavior? They are behaviors that prove (affirm) your worthy intent is being acknowledged and, for lack of a better word, working. You know how some people pick up the phone when you call, and others don’t? Picking up the phone is an affirming behavior. With emailing, you have to follow up with some people three or four times before they get back to you and others reply to your emails within a day or two. Replying in a timely manner is an affirming behavior.
One of my favorite affirming behaviors to watch out for has to do with scheduling. Imagine two business relationships. One is willing to rearrange their schedule to meet with you, the other will only meet with you at a time and date that works for them. One works around your schedule, the other forces you to work around theirs. Which do you probably have a stronger, more secure relationship with?
The Worthy Intent-Affirming Behavior Exchange
Take a minute and evaluate your business relationships. In our work with business professionals we often find that people, particularly salespeople, believe their relationships are stronger than they are. A quick analysis of the “Worthy Intent-Affirming Behavior” exchange often reveals otherwise. There are a lot of salespeople out there who are acting in their client’s best interests, but their clients don’t realize it. If they’re giving me their business, why should I care if the customer doesn’t realize I’m keeping their best interests at the core of our relationship?
Think for a moment about the people you purchase from in your personal life. There are some you would never leave, there are others you’d leave in a heartbeat. Are those you’d never leave on the receiving end of affirming behavior from you? Chances are, you answer their calls, respond to their emails, agree to their price increases, etc. You know they have your best interests in mind as they’re pulling your teeth, mowing your lawn, cutting your hair, helping you find a new place to live, or fixing your car.
Harry’s Auto Service in St. Louis has been on the receiving end of decades of affirming behavior from my family. A new service provider would have a heck of a time trying to get us to switch from using Harry’s after three generations. If Harry calls, we answer the phone. When he tells us we need to fix something under the hood, we say, “fix it,” and we know the price will be fair. When I turned 16 and he had a car for sale, my parents didn’t wonder if they might be purchasing a lemon (A jalopy, if you’re in New Orleans). They trusted Harry, and they trusted his price.
The Worthy Intent-Affirming Behavior exchange is a key element of the value model, which represents the buyer-seller relationship. Make sure you exercise Worthy Intent and be on the lookout for affirming behaviors as you build your business relationships. If you’re not seeing affirming behaviors from them, chances are your customer isn’t seeing your Worthy Intent.