There are critical differences between customers and clients. It is generally understood and accepted that the word customer and client is regularly interchanged, as it means different things to different people. The concept of “customer service” is recognised as a business process; however, there are some businesses that refer to this process by the term “client services”. Regardless of the term you may use, “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” is a relevant methodology on distinguishing between types of customers. Business interactions usually commence with a prospect that then becomes a customer, grows into a client and ideally matures into an advocate. Only a very few businesses can claim to have achieved an advocacy relationship with some of their clients. It is reasonable to conclude that “Apple” and “Harley Davidson” can claim to have achieved an advocacy relationship from some their client networks.
To commence this understanding it is important that you differentiate levels of business interface, starting with the difference between a customer and a client. The information contained in this document will provoke your thought on what difference you may feel there is, and how you can sustain the development of clients through relationship based selling. This analysis commences with a powerful declaration that makes the following strategic observation.
“A sales professional cannot consult with a customer. A sales professional must have a client. Customers and clients are very different people. A customer usually purchases a product or service on price alone. A client on the other hand will be loyal to the seller and will buy a product or service solution on value and not price. Converting customers into clients is a major mission of the 21st Century sales professional”.
If the seller allows a purchaser to remain a customer, the seller will be put at a serious disadvantage. The customer will treat the seller as an alternative supplier, seeking out other sellers with better prices. As such, the customer will create a competitive position between many sellers. The seller will then be forced to persuade the customer that the seller’s system delivers the best benefits. Prominent amongst these benefits will have to be the “best price” from the customer’s point of view.
The chief distinguishing characteristic of a client is a value-to-price orientation, which favours value. A customer, on the other hand, is generally focused towards price. The trade-off a client makes with a professional seller about accepting a higher price in return for added value can be expressed something like this:
“I accept that your higher price is proof of your added value. However, for the extra cost that I may incur, I want something extra. I will insist, therefore, that you support our relationship in ways that exceed my expectation. Exceeding my expectation will prove to me that you understand the importance of “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling”.
The best way to convert a customer into a client is to respect and implement “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling”. A relationship-based seller who wants to achieve a professional sales relationship has to implement a process, which from the client’s point of view sustains and proves the value of a system referred to as relationship based selling.
The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling described below are an exceptional and proven method of building quality relationships with any buyer over a continuous period of time. Understanding and using “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” in everyday business interactions will sustain and widen the gap between you and your competitors.
The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling also enable professional sellers to regularly analyse their existing business relationships and should a particular relationship be no longer as good as it was, then referring back to “The Laws” will in most cases uncover where a breakdown has occurred and how to rectify and relaunch a new and more sustainable relationship.
As you read through the “12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” you will quickly appreciate that it is not “rocket science”. The process is a very simple, effective and a sustainable method of gaining, maintaining and developing relationships in all walks of life. You will find that the “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” are completely relevant and particularly so in the relationships you have in your personal life where no commercial process exists.
For many professional sellers sharing the “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” with their business associates is a way of nourishing the process of unrivalled “sales culture”. Creating a culture based on these immutable laws will mean that the sales process will become natural in everything you do. The International Sales Institute (ISI) values and respects the process referred to as “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” and it is the undertaking of The International Sales Institute (ISI) to sustain the superiority of its members activities by regular education and support based on these immutable laws and principles.
Traditional sales education methodologies have been primarily based on gaining the sale with little recognisable methods of how to sustain and build long term relationships with the customer. Based on the reality that “the next sale begins when this one is closed”, it would seem invaluable to have a method that builds on this first relationship (sale) in order to create sustainable long term and mutually rewarding relationships with the original customer and others known to this customer (referred leads).
Traditional sales education systems have focused their attention on training the seller to maintain control of the sale through a series of planned methods or tactics. The “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” on the other hand will transform sales communication and interactions from a one of sale, to an ongoing and mutually respected partnership. This can be best articulated in how you communicate with your doctor, your lawyer, your accountant or any other professional you interact with each day. Yes, they sell their service, that’s how they maintain their business, but do they sell, or do we buy from them? You will rarely meet people who think that their doctor sells them products and services even though this is what actually occurs.
Doctors do not attend sales education programs, they do however, spend an extraordinary amount of time learning how to help people overcome health related problems. This is how a doctor shifts from being a seller of products and services, to a professional medical consultant. It is this exact methodology, which is outlined, in “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling”. They are as follows:
The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling.
1. “Understand my needs and issues”
Get things done, respond to my needs.
Produce results fast because I have more needs.
2. “Communicate with me”
Speak to me in value creation terms.
Let me know you clearly understand the issues.
3. “Don’t surprise me”
Tell me the truth.
Criticise if you need to, but let me know what’s working as well.
4. “Work with me”
Become a part of my team.
Show me you’re interested in what I’m doing. Ask questions.
5. “Give me the best you’ve got”
Your higher service and value makes your price very reasonable.
6. “Be 100% professional”
Be a real professional in everything you do.
7. “Keep me informed”
Continuously share some of your experience and expertise with my
people and me.
8. “Lead and own the process”
Get out in front of my problems.
Roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty in my business.
Compromise with me once in a while but don’t give in on what you
know is vital.
9. “Worry for me”
Think hard about my problems.
Let me know what you think even without being asked.
Give me immediate access to you when I am worried, be available.
Put my needs first – never mind anyone else.
10. “Be creative/Inspire me”
Apply yourself in a way that transcends normal boundaries. Offer
me options. Show a strong desire to achieve our objectives.
Don’t leave a single stone unturned in looking for solutions.
11. “Be faithful”
Keep our business confidential.
Make your relationship with me personal and continuous.
Don’t pass me along to others.
12. “Treat me like a person, not just a client”
Treat me like an equal, deal with me one-to-one.
Don’t talk down to me.
Throw in a few “little extras” every now and then.
Advise me on closely related matters, even if you’re not being paid for
What “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” amounts to, is a manifestation of a customer’s concern for an investment in a relationship process, of the need for visibility of commitment, and of the dependency that must be placed on the seller’s expertise in order for a customer to become a valued and respected client.
Once this relationship process has been established over time, the seller who fastidiously maintains this process can reasonably rely on the loyalty of that client. The client may now be well on the way to becoming an advocate. A professional seller must be sensitive to the buyers needs to receive these 12 immutable laws, and also to demonstrate that they will diligently adhere to all of them. Along with the profit improvement benefits of the professional sellers system, recognition of “The 12 Immutable Laws of Relationship Based Selling” is the single most important contributor to exceptional and sustainable relationship based selling activities.
The quotation below underpins the importance of “relationship based selling” as a way of gaining, maintaining and developing quality business relationships. These relationships are predominately based on the interpersonal dealings between two or more people created within the sales process.
“People buy from us not only because they understand our products and services but more importantly because they feel we understand them as people, and people are more interested in how much we care, than in how much we know.”