Whether you are a store detective trying to convince a store manager to move high loss merchandise to reduce shoplifting opportunities, a loss prevention executive trying to convince your CFO on purchasing cutting-edge technology or if you are a solution provider trying to convince the executive suite that your solution can reduce shrink…. we all need to have a little salesperson in us.
I have learned through my experience as a practitioner and now a solution provider in our industry that before someone can buy whatever you are trying to offer, they must “buy” you first. From the time you get up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night, you are, planning, communicating, persuading, negotiating and influencing - trying to get people to cooperate with you to accomplish the things that you want them to accomplish.
All senior executives are excellent salespeople. All effective parents are wonderful salespeople. All effective employees use sales techniques to get their coworkers and bosses to go along with them and to cooperate with them in getting the job done. Everyone who is effective in virtually any area of life that involves other people is a salesperson of some kind.
Research shows that even with the Best Loss Prevention Programs, best products and best business practices, you still need strong relationships to succeed. Ever read one of the interviews of a senior executive in Loss Prevention Magazine? Every person interviewed talks about their relationships with other departments and the people who make them successful.
How do you build relationships to help you become more successful and get those to buy into your ideas, program initiatives or product offering? Tony Hughes from RSVP Selling wrote about the ten laws of relationship selling, which are the keys to your audience buying into your ideas. Here are five of the ten laws relevant to this article:
- People buy from those they like and trust - Trust is built through shared values and genuine understanding.
- People buy based on their emotions and justify decisions with logic and facts - Selling is the transference of emotion and belief supported by logic and evidence.
- People always act in their own best interest - Thoughtfully validate and test commitments made to you or your company. Ensure that you understand what's in it for them personally.
- Features are not always benefits - Features are only benefits if they solve the company/customer’s specific, acknowledged problems.
- Attitude is everything - Value for employer and customer is defined by your ability to positively influence and deliver results.
How can you develop key relationships to become more successful? Here are a couple of tips that I have learned in my career.
- Respect is the foundation for building business relationships. It is the basis for the functioning of teams, partnerships and managing relationships. Whether you are a vendor working with a retailer, loss prevention working with Operations or peer to peer it’s all about the relationship that you build.
- Being enthusiastic! Enthusiasm is contagious. When you are absolutely convinced, sold, passionate, enthusiastic and confident about what you’re offering, it’s hard NOT to sell your ideas.
- Spending time building relationships. Relationships do not happen in a single meeting or short conversation during a conference. Success depends on the diversity and quality of your relationships. Yet most of us don't invest enough time building, nurturing and quantifying relationships.
- Support their needs. Doing for others goes a long way in building relationships. Support relationships by listening to the other party’s needs, understanding their concerns and finding a way to help them first. Make it about helping them and they will help you.
So whether you are that store detective, loss prevention or business executive, or solution provider remember that we are all selling something. To help you become more successful, build real relationships and seek to help others with their needs first.
Want to know the REAL secret to what matters most in business? Look in the mirror! That’s right, it is YOU! If you are interested in learning more about building relationships, I highly recommend “People Buy You”, a book by Jeb Blount.
Written by Kevin O’Brien, Senior Account Executive