Screen-Shot-2012-07-27-at-6_40_29-PM‘Selling is about building relationships.’

This vacuous, five-word cliché floats nicely off the tongue at most sales training seminars, networking events and cocktail parties. The harsh reality is that North America’s selling model does little to ingratiate seller to buyer. It incites salesperson avoidance.

While avoiding salespeople may seem as logical as locking our doors at night, avoidance squanders precious business time, good will, profits and opportunities for buyer and seller alike and it weakens our economy. Selling, as we practice it today, places hurdles in the way of selling relationships.

Were selling truly about building relationships it would be characterized by professional objectivity, impartiality and a healthy measure of selflessness. Sellers would not selfishly invade the time and space of their prospects with cold, off-the-street walk-ins and interruptive telephone calls. They would not waste time making unqualified, mind-numbing sales presentations, or inflict pointless rationales upon their prospects in order to overcome their objections. If selling were truly about building relationships salespeople would, instead, invest their time helping their prospects make timely, well-thought-through buying decisions. Traditional sell-cycles would plummet. Sell-closures would spike.

If selling were about building relationships employers would compensate their salespeople for their valuable skills as they would any respected professional … with a dignified salary, benefits and bonus options. Employers making such investments in their salespeople become very discriminating when hiring. Salespeople, for their part, would no longer amble from one selling position to the next abandoning their client and prospect equity’, selling’s most valuable relationship-building resources. Instead, the relationships they initiate would have time to mature and prosper.

As you decide how your company will sell this year … remember, March 2015 is International Hug a Salesperson Month.