How do you know when you’ve developed a trusting relationship with a buyer?
• The buyer asks your advice on professional and/or personal issues.
• Your “pushback” is accepted in good grace and responded to.
• You both laugh genuinely at shared humor.
• Private and confidential concerns are shared (e.g., “I’m not convinced my call center manager is the best choice for the job”).
• You are asked probing and follow-up questions which help the buyer learn more about your approaches and values.
Once you’ve established a trusting relationship, you can pursue conceptual agreement about a project (objectives, metrics, value) which is the basis for a proposal. Without trust, the buyer won’t share objectives and any request for a proposal is probably just subterfuge to get you out of the office.
© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved.