“Goodwill is the one and only asset that competition cannot undersell or destroy.”
– Marshall Field
Selling in the 21st century will be relationship selling. So says the Harvard Business School. You can’t go wrong in building robust and mutually beneficially business relationships.
Some years ago, our company got a marketing job from the Imo State Ministry of Youths and Sports to attract corporate sponsors for the Imo International Festival of Marathon that would host local and foreign athletes. My classmate at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Anaege Estervera, connected us to do the job. This is another example of how goodwill and friendship help in selling. The enterprising Estervera sold our company to the planning committee as the company that would get the desired result within a short notice.
The expectation of the Local Organising Committee was high. They wanted result. We had our challenges on the job. The event was to be held in 30 days from the time we got the job. The official protocol involved in getting approval for such sponsorship in companies will usually go through processes; so, achieving top performance within that short period of time became a tough nut to crack!
But I didn’t succumb to the negative thought that the task couldn’t be done within that short period of time. My team and I just had to find a way to get things done. My principle to assignments is simple: ‘‘Say yes and find a way to make it happen.’’ I don’t give in to challenges; I do my best to discover solutions. This mindset has helped me a lot in life and in my career.
Place of goodwill
We later signed the contract papers and off we went. I slept over the situation and the intuition came. The strategy that came to my mind was to utilise already existing contacts; to use goodwill and referrals. I called our team and we agreed that we would reach out to contacts that would assist us in obtaining data of people who mattered in decision-making on sponsorship proposals in our target companies. This strategy would make our job half done. We didn’t have enough time to reach out to numerous prospects; so, being strategic, intentional and precise was more realistic.
We later got some reasonable leads through our contacts on how to reach our targets and we began to make important sales calls. Just as expected, the strategy worked. We got to our targets within the first five days and by end of the subsequent four working days, we got reasonable feedback.
The 15th law in my book, The 25 Unbreakable Laws of Sales, says, “Sales is a number game but always strike on target.” You must know the exact place to sell; you must know what to sell and how to sell when you get to the marketplace. Our strategy was efficient because it was direct and straight to our targets. We used referrals to send in our tailored to fit proposals. We also utilised already existing trust, goodwill and relationships. You can’t go wrong in selling with this strategy.
Goodwill and selling
Let me briefly illustrate with goodwill in the accounting profession. Goodwill is treated as an intangible asset in accounting because it is an identifiable long-term asset of a company that has no physical existence. Examples of goodwill include brand name, good customer relations, good employee relations, a solid customer base, among others. You will see that relationships play a big role here. Although goodwill has no physical existence, its benefit is enormous.
Successful salesmen take advantage of goodwill in their selling. In fact, relationship selling is regarded as one of the best selling strategies because it explores the benefits of goodwill. Smart sales folks apply this strategy. I have taken advantage of goodwill to close a good number of sales. This strategy puts you in an advantageous situation because it removes or minimises bottlenecks that could work against the sale.
A good example of this is the success you experience in referral selling. The buyer in this context buys for two reasons: the first is because of the person that recommended the salesperson and his product; the second reason is the satisfaction the buyer will derive from buying the right product. It is up to the salesman to develop a pleasant relationship after concluding the referral selling. Smart salespeople take every sales relationship to new heights.
Salesmen who exploit their ‘‘goodwill accounts,’’ sell easier and faster – because buyers desire to buy from people they like and trust. Therefore, it is logical to say that the more you take advantage of the goodwill you built over time, the more you sell.
George O. Emetuche is a Brian Tracy endorsed bestselling author, accredited training consultant, life coach, sales and marketing consultant.
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