Hit & Run vs. Relational Selling
There really are two basic types of selling even though there are countless categories of goods and services. While referred to by various names, I call them hit and run, vs. relational selling. What separates the two is the potential for repeat business. Hit and run sales most typically involves a onetime purchase like the proverbial used car or door to door sales.
Relational selling has the potential, and typically a goal, to sell goods and / or services to the same person with some degree of frequency or consistency over an indefinite but hopefully long period of time.
Hit and run focuses on the product, relational on the customer. Compared to relational selling, the odds of closing the sale to someone on their first encounter are actually fairly high if the sales associate has the “skills and drive”, but it also has a real downside as the trade off.
Relational selling as the name implies requires establishing and developing a relationship prior to making the first sale. An example would be selling mattresses at the wholesale level to a retailer. In some cases, this may take years.
It’s the Same for the Shopper
The attitude of the mattress shopper is most often considered a “Hit and Run” purchase. Forming any kind of relationship with the RSA is not even on their radar screen. What’s the point? It’s a one time purchase. At least for the length of the warranty, 10 years or more.
It’s just the nature of the beast. Mattress retail sales does lend itself to being Hit and Run. After all, we do know that usually, you really do only have one shot at it. Statistics show that if someone leaves without buying, they will probably buy elsewhere. This creates urgency or even desperation and can lead to some really poor practices. Unfortunately this is why many consumers lump us in with the above mentioned used car and door to door salesman stereotype.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
But the truth is, you have the ability to change the entire dynamic and change consumer impression of our industry one customer at a time by approaching the selling process in a relational manner. You really can develop a clientele and build a long term business. The frequency or purchase may not be often, but while people sleep on their mattress for many years, they do have other needs that arise. In addition, relational selling seeks referrals by using testimonials from satisfied customers. We all know, word of mouth is the best way to build a business.
But the real benefit to relational selling is that it creates a unique buying experience for your customers resulting in increased sales of higher quality goods.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the differences between Hit and Run and Relational Selling.
Compare the characteristics below in no particular order:
Hit & Run Relational
Short term Long term
Spend a little time comparing and considering the two columns. Adopting the attitudes, concepts and practices in the Relational column will certainly pay bigger dividends for everyone involved.
“If you make a sale, you can make a living. If you make an investment of time and good service in a customer, you can make a fortune.” Jim Rohne