In the sales world, there are two major types of business relationships: transactional and consultative. The first is closely linked to the operations of products and services that are “commodities”, so the end-user finds little difference from one supplier to another in both specifications and performance. There is also a tiny difference in prices, this last factor being the one that predominates in a decision generally made by middle or low-level employees within a specific area, which is usually purchasing. In the second type, we talk about products and services that can be differentiated by their different characteristics and surely by their performance. The sales process involves high-level executives (CxOs) from a user and/or business area, who typically recommend the purchasing area that could eventually be responsible for negotiating and closing the process. Price is also a factor but is not usually the only one. Several elements are considered and analysed by a user and/or business areas in a more or less complex matrix assigning a specific score to each component to reach a classification that results in the final recommendation for the acquisition of a good or service that a committee can analyse before the definitive step by the purchasing areas.
Another common difference between transactional and consultative relationships is that the first is relatively fast and, by their nature, establishes an ephemeral or “ghost” relationship between customer and supplier. I emphasise this because it is the only way to see it. In many cases, they have a tense and even antagonistic relationship, which does not seek the famous “win-win”. Still, otherwise one of them wants to get the best possible price, and the other wants to pay as little as possible and get rid of the slope and the work of dealing with a seller.
In this environment, “ghosting” is expected since the parties’ interest comes down to buying and selling something, and as soon as that happens, the seller disappears. Suppose something happens with the delivery or use of the product or service, and the customer searches for the seller. In that case, it never appears, if anything will answer the call, the “whats” or the mail directing you to a “call centre”, some support area or plan to a 1-800-customer-attention. Indeed the customer will “mount in anger” or “beget in panther” without realising that the very nature of the relationship and the operation prevents the seller from helping him in these circumstances. Being transactional, low price, and “commoditised”, the supplier is forced to be as efficient as possible by making the seller go from customer to customer selling and creating areas of service or service to “massive” customers to deal with problems may arise.
On the other hand, in the consultative relationships characteristic of the B2B world, there should be no “ghost” relationships, as it seeks to establish a relationship of trust and long-term between business partners (note: not between customer and supplier) in which there is a respect between the roles and interests of each of the parties in which they both seek in a definite way and with all conviction the “win-win”, so that in each of the businesses that are closed – which are usually many in time – this relationship in which there is an account executive – that is not a seller – is responsible for being the link between the customer and his business partner to channel the needs of new products or services, or the problems that may arise, accountable for bringing them to your organisation and enticing that the resources that it has been responsible for delivering the required solution.
The client wants to keep his account executive always close because it helps him think about the future, plan his needs and solve problems, often becoming a trusted advisor for the CIO and other CxOs in the organisation. Again, the very nature of the relationship defines the role of the business partner. If there is a respectful relationship, seeking mutual benefit, allowing the delivery person to a product or service to obtain a healthy return and to those who receive it the right quality, execution, and service, then they can enjoy a relationship without “ghosts”.
When we say “No more ghosting!” (no more ghosts), we mean that when it comes to choosing or offering vital elements for the operation of a business, such as the choice of an EOS (Enterprise Operating System), both customers, from SMEs, to large corporate, global companies and government institutions should look for a business partner that has the technical capabilities to deliver the good or service in question, but above all have in your DNA the conviction to build a long-term relationship and provide the customer with all the people, processes and execution capacity to satisfy and why not say it, exceed the expectations of the customer. Similarly, the potential business partner must choose clients who have the same conviction to develop and maintain a long-term constructive relationship by dedicating the resources necessary to achieve the agreed objectives to support the development of the defined business strategy.
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