Building relationships is key to sales

So has Cheryl Cole lost the plot? There has been uproar since she made her decision on which 3 acts she wanted to take through to the live finals in the X Factor. Viewers have been ringing ITV in their droves to complain and there are acres of news print on her wacky decision to take Cher and Katie through to the next stage of the competition.

Based on what we saw over the weekend Cher and Katie did not deserve to go through as they were both unable to complete their audition with suggestions neither of them could cope with the pressure placed on them. Gamu, Treyc and Anasatacia were all better singers than Cher and Katie but were discarded.

As Cheryl wants to be the winning judge again why would she decide against better singers in a singing competition?

One of her comments to the contestants at the weekend was quite telling when she told them that, due to her illness, she had not met some of them at the auditions and had therefore not yet been able to make a “personal connection” to them.

It was quite clear that Cheryl was not making her decision solely on the quality of their voices. If so Treyc and Gamu would have gone through instead of Cher and Katie. Other factors influenced her decision and these included her feelings and attitude towards each contestant. She appeared to feel a closer bond twoards Cher and Katie and that gave them the edge in the decision making process.

This is the same in many different scenarios and is particularly true in sales meetings. Price is an important factor in the sales process, but the relationship you have with a potential client will have far more impact on the ultimate decision made. The better the relationship the greater the trust the client will have in what you say, the more confidence they will have in the service your company will provide and the more difficult they will find it to say no to you. Obviously you still need to have a product or service that is of value to them with a price that is realistic, but the strength of the relationship can be the decisive factor in the decision.

I have been coaching in sales situations where a client has been happy to pay a higher price for a service that they can get cheaper elsewhere, because the the relationship between them and the sales person has given them the confidence that the after sales care provided will be superior to the competitions. The client is perfectly happy as they place value on having a close relationship with the people they deal with at that company.  Demonstrating empathy and having a “personal connection” carries great weight in the potential success of the business relationship.

It would appear that in Cheryl Cole’s case it is a similar scenario. She will have spent time with each of the contestants during the final auditions and will have felt that she could have the greatest impact with those that she had the greatest connection to; Rebecca, Cher and Katie. She hasn’t picked the best singers, but she has gone with those that she think she and the audience will make the greatest connection with.

As the cliche says; people buy people first.

Now who’s going to get picked in the wildcard session this weekend? Will it be personality or singing ability that gets the nod?

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