Learn to Lead Successful Buying Relationships: Part 3

Successful buying relationships are secured by mutual respect. This is the third and final element required to lead a successful buying relationship.

In Parts One and Two of this series, we examined the roles of understanding and trust in leading successful buying relationships. It’s common to assume that these two elements naturally lead to the third essential factor – respect. When buyers feel like you understand their problem or WIN (wants, impacts, needs), and they trust that you can lead them to a successful buying decision, they will have built a foundation upon which respect can be established.

But this piece of the process is as intentionally created as the first two.

Your Expected Roles in a Successful Buying Relationship

While respect is built upon understanding and trust, it is earned by the growth multiplier’s commitment to showing up as both a salesperson and a servant leader. These are the roles your buyers are expecting you to bring to the buying relationship.

As a salesperson, your mandate is to help new and existing customers make successful buying decisions in order to deliver on both your and their committed goals for growth. This is your why, your reason for existing within the buying relationship and for existing within your own company.

As a servant leader, your mandate is to create successful buying decisions by serving shared goals for growth and leading buyers along a shared path to change. This is your how, or means of delivering on the expectations of both your customer and company.

By definition, a successful buying decision is one that balances the success criteria you, your company, partners, and customers all bring to the buying relationship. Success is shared; not winner-takes-all. Dedicating yourself to shared goals as you lead buyers along a shared path to change eliminates conflict from the buying relationship.

It also allows you and your buyer to focus on mutual or shared successes. You can, therefore, stop selling and instead help your customers buy, which ultimately increases your probability of earning the respect required to achieve a successful buying decision.

What Does Respect Look Like When It Is Earned by a Growth Multiplier?

As we discussed in Parts One and Two of this series, understanding and trust are essential in leading successful buying relationships. Your customers will see the effort you put forth in understanding their unique needs. Infusing authenticity, vulnerability, transparency, and accountability into your relationship allows them to trust you to produce a solution that fully addresses their “real” problem.

But it’s the difference between salespeople and servant leaders that ultimately enables respect from both sides.

As a salesperson, you have a commitment to your company to produce a certain quota or sales volume. However, this means nothing to your customers, so focusing on your personal commitments as the main goal leaves your customer out of the shared success.

Servant leaders are those who find a shared common goal with the buyer that can result in a mutually beneficial outcome. When you’re each focused on a successful buying decision as the end result, you’re each able to share in the journey and the resulting victory.

Therefore, mutual respect thrives on two essential factors:

  • Leading by example and walking the talk. Servant leaders make and keep commitments. They hold themselves and others accountable. They’re invested in delivering private complements and public recognition alike. They take responsibility for failures and successes. Making direct eye contact, addressing others by their name, and showing and demonstrating a sincere concern for their well‐being are all characteristic of leaders who are worth following.
  • Recognizing the value of your resources and theirs. Servant leaders invested in a successful buying relationship seek collaboration. They show interest in their work and family and give their undivided attention. They practice active listening and duplication to discover how others think and feel. Provoking new ideas and ways of thinking, while being as a source of strength, promotes mutual respect.

The responsibility of earning respect falls on the shoulders of the growth multiplier. Though you and your customer are sharing a desire for a successful buying decision, it is you who is leading the relationship along the path to change. The only way to give your customer the confidence he or she requires to participate in the process is by achieving mutual understanding, trust, and respect.

Mutual respect is the currency of servant leadership, and like any currency, it must be given freely to have value. Respect cannot be taken by the power of one’s position or authority. It must be earned, and it is more easily earned when servant leaders prioritize understanding, trust, and respect in building and leading successful buying relationships so that each party can achieve their desired outcome.

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