Relational, Not Relationship

In a conversation with a collegue in the graphics industry I claimed that all buyers act in either transactional or relational mode when purchasing anything.

He said “I don’t. I don’t drive across town to save a few cents, and I certainly don’t have a relationship with any place that I shop.”

Relationship? No, you probably don’t. Relational does not equal relationship. But, if you choose to shop somewhere for reasons other than price, you’re operating in relational mode.

Perhaps you choose a grocery store for it’s produce. You don’t read the paper for the specials before you shop. You don’t bring “cents off” coupons to the store. You don’t even have one of their affinity cards which, at check-out, they’ll swipe through the till to “save you $6.23 this trip.” You are there because you like their produce department. You’re acting relationally.

Perhaps you don’t know the store manager’s name. You’ve never seen pictures of the cashier’s kids. You don’t even know whether the produce manager is married. You don’t have relationships with these people. You shop at their store in a relational mode.

Do you buy your gas at the station on the corner because it’s convenient? You’re shopping relationally. Do you choose a dentist because he concentrates on elimination of pain? You’re shopping relationally. If you watch Good Morning America instead of the Today show because you like Diane Sawyer better than Katie Couric, you’re shopping relationally. (What? You don’t think that investment of your time has a cost?)

You can shop relationally without ever maintaining a relationship.

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Have you ever been told something new that rings true with every fiber of your being? Wizard of Ads partner Steve Clark had that effect on me within the first hour of his New School Selling workshop.

Our society has changed, and people’s reaction to salespeople has changed with it. The old “closing techniques” don’t work any more… at least, not as they once did. Steve demonstrates why they never will again, what does work, and even addresses such issues as the conflict between doing what’s best for the client and maximizing revenue for your company.

As someone who’s been directly involved in sales and sales management for the last two decades, I can tell you that I’ve never been so impressed with any sales training system, and I’ve been through quite a number of them.

The next class at Wizard Academy is May 19-20. You can sign up for it here. And if you make your living selling, you probably should.

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