Updated: Mar 17
Imagine that your relationship with each client is like a bank account. As you go through life with your buyer, the “sales equity” account balance is always fluctuating. When you do something they appreciate, you earn sales equity and you are essentially making a deposit into your relationship bank. However, when you make a mistake, there is a withdrawal. The goal is to earn significant sales equity in your relationship bank— the challenge is to not allow the withdrawals to outweigh the deposits.
This challenge can be followed up with the question, “What have you, the advisor, done for me, the customer, lately?” People tend to remember recent events, so whenever there is a withdrawal from the relationship bank account, that is what the client will recall with the most clarity. Additionally, if you, the advisor, try to influence your buyer’s decision when the balance is low, you are going to have a harder time than if you are selling them something when the balance is positive.
The goal is to grow your sales equity balance over time so that when a withdrawal happens, the account will be stable. If you have been earning sales equity and building your relationship bank balance all along, the odds of keeping them are in your favor.
Continuing with the financial analogy, just as inflation erodes your real bank balance, so does relationship inflation erode your sales equity bank balance. It does not matter who your buyer chooses to compare you to, if you keep performing at the same level while the competition is getting better all the time, then you will be getting worse; you have to keep running just to keep up.
So the ongoing question for your buyer is: “Are you relationship worthy?” We only need so many “Trusted Advisor” relationships in our lives, and we accept the fact that the rest of our relationships are Predisposed or even Transactional.
One reason you do not have a higher number of Trusted Advisor relationships is that humans are wired to manage only a limited number of relationships at any one time— about 150. Our brain restricts the number of relationships we can have, and we maintain a relationship only when it offers something of value to us professionally, personally, or psychologically. Without a compelling reason for a relationship to exist, it will simply fade away and be replaced by more valuable ones— those that offer us greater sales equity! Both parties must be willing to invest in a relationship if it is going to endure; it has to remain one of the “Top 150 Relationships” in your life.
And that is the essence of sales equity! The amount of sales equity you create with a buyer influences how invested your buyer is in maintaining a relationship with you. So, how many of your buyers are invested in maintaining a relationship with you? How many of your relationships have you built sufficient sales equity to differentiate you from someone else in your industry?
The answer is usually not enough.
The reason we have so few Trusted Advisor relationships is because we settle for Transactional ones. Think about this from a personal standpoint. Your LinkedIn profile is filled with connections that represent many, if not most of your professional business relationships. How many of those relationships are really “Fantastic?” Probably only a handful. Over time, most relationships start to drift apart, relegating us to “the pack.” The same is true for all the relationships your buyers have, including the one they have with you. Strive for Trusted Advisor relationships— strive for sales equity.
What is an example of a Trusted Advisor in your life? Comment down below! Also, follow us on Linkedin at “Encompass-CX” for more blogs and updates!
Co-written by Alexis Audeh