Are salespeople better at personal relationships

Customer acquisition and new customer acquisitionBuild and maintain customer relationships

A potential customer can seldom be tied to a single person. Usually there are several people who play a role in the purchase decision: employees and superiors from different departments in the company, experts and consultants and sometimes family members or friends in the private sector. The seller has to adapt to this situation and ultimately build a relationship with the relevant members of the so-called buying center.

Important people in the buying center and their roles are:

  • the technical contact who describes the specific requirements and researches and compiles the information from the individual providers;
  • the user of the product who will later work with it or use it;
  • the superiors who ultimately make the decision or only want to have a say on the basis of their status;
  • Buyers who have to pay attention to the formal framework conditions;
  • Consultants who offer technical support and who contribute their experiences and opinions;
  • other colleagues whose opinion is valued.

It is important to recognize what influence the individual people have in the sales process and how important they are for the purchase decision. That can be very different and does not have to be tied to the formal titles of the person. For example, a person who researches information on providers and compiles offers can play an important role, as they make a decisive contribution to whether one belongs to the selected providers at all (so-called gatekeepers).

It is helpful if the seller knows whether there are conflicts in the buying center or whether a member has a particularly good relationship with a competitor. The seller must recognize who can or must support him in the sales process and whether this person is following the benefit argumentation. In addition, he has to maintain relationships with the other members of the buying center.

But be careful: salespeople often orient themselves towards the likeable people in the buying center who are dear to them. In doing so, they overlook the other people who are perhaps much more important for the purchase decision. It can be helpful if the seller manages to find a coach with the customer. It supports him in the sales process, provides reliable information and gives access to other important people in the buying center.