Are you Building Relationships at the C-Suite? Previous item It’s Never Too Early to... Next item The Power and Unintended...

In my last post, I wrote about the importance of evaluating long-lasting relationships and avoiding the unintended consequences that occur when you fail to evaluate, evolve and deliver ongoing value. In any business, it is critical to have the tools for building relationships at the C-suite level, as well as understanding the goals of the organization.

This is true whether you are selling infrastructure as-a-service, software as a service, managed services or anything else, for that matter. While it is true that you are selling technology, in each case these all are 100% business sales with a focus on a business outcome or objective.

If you believe you are selling technology to the IT department, you will quickly fall into the trap of an order taker. But if you want to become a true value-add partner, you will consider the impact the technology has on the C-suite and why they care. Ask yourself these questions: How can I help my customer:

  • grow sales and revenue?
  • maximize their cashflow position?
  • control costs?
  • scale and maximize asset utilization?
  • manage their risk from a financial standpoint?
  • drive a better customer experience?

Each of these questions requires moving your relationships out of one particular department to building relationships at the C-suite. If you understand your customer’s business, the outcomes they are hoping to achieve and you can deliver a solution that allows them to achieve those outcomes, then you are delivering value.

How are you delivering value today? If you were judged simply on the value you’re providing to the business today, what grade would you give yourself? What grade would your customer give you?

Never let yourself get too comfortable and assume your relationship is “good enough.” Relationship will only take you so far. The final analysis in the business-outcome world is whether you are bringing value. Constantly ask yourself “How can I help my customer gain insight into these areas? How can I come to the table with an idea and a solution that they may not realize will help their business and then be able to quantify its value to them?

Relationship selling is a never-ending circular situation in which value is your permission slip to improve your relationship, and relationship is your permission slip to provide more value. As soon as you get too comfortable, your competitor is going to show up and be on the fourth floor while you are on the second floor with your donuts.