Salespeople often slow down a sale or lose it altogether because they are not willing to create tension. I am not talking about relationship tension. I am talking about task tension.
You want to get to task tension as quickly as you can. This is what sales acceleration is all about. However, smart salespeople know you need to create a foundation of relationships—essentially reducing relationship tension so you can create task tension. You can’t rush to task tension until you remove relationship tension. You remove relationship tension by helping the prospect see that you are someone who can be trusted and could bring value.
Build Your Relationship Foundation First
There are many sales models that are in vogue today where you are encouraged to lead by challenging the prospect—using the challenge to advance the conversation. That is great advice. It’s always been true, but it won’t work if you move so fast to get to task tension that you end up creating relationship tension.
You are in a hurry to advance the sale, so look for ways to speed up the relationship by demonstrating you can be trusted and bring value. As soon as you sense the relationship is taking hold, get to task tension.
Look for Ways to be Trusted and Valued
So if your goal is to be a “challenger” to get to task tension as quickly as possible, you need to look for ways to become trusted and valued in the early stages of a business relationship. You become trusted and valued by demonstrating empathy, expertise, and problem-solving.
You don’t need to demonstrate all three—often, you can get the relationship where you need it to be by leaning on one or two of those hallmarks. Think of a prospect you are working with right now and take action today that will demonstrate empathy, expertise, or problem-solving.
Get to task tension as soon as possible, but don’t create relationship tension along the way!
*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated since its original publish date.