Sales: Transactional Versus Relational
William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice
Ever bought a home? At closing alone, you sign what seems like hundreds of foreign documents. One after another, with everything briefly summarized. Remember now? Sure, you can read it and if you are an engineer, scientist, lawyer, or some other jargon junky, you do. The rest of us sign document after document with that icky feeling inside of should I be negotiating or price checking. Wondering is this in my best interest, my lenders best interest, the sellers, the seller’s agent. Right? For me, it was more of a blur than marriage was. You search, your agent recommends lenders, your agent talks to the seller’s agent, you search more, identifying prospective homes that fit your needs, wants, and budget. You find the home, make the offer, get inspections done, sign documents, get quotes for this and that, sign more documents, and listen to reflexive jargon-laden speeches, all while wondering did we pay too much? Even in a flattening world, maybe this process never changes. Here is the backup plan. You will never have the time to study and learn the language and how it relates to buyers, sellers, agents, lenders, and regulatory bodies, so stick with relationship.
As a new homeowner, I cannot be more thrilled with the decisions we made choosing Bill and Denise Wright with Homes the Wright Way. My spouse’s parents recommended these family friends to us whom many years ago assisted them with their home purchase. So, these agents are family friends, came with high recommendation, have high integrity, and to boot lived up to every ounce of expectation. We had a month to find, purchase, offer, settle, fix, and close on the home for an end of the month move in and we did it. That is 100% because of our lender and agent. We felt connected, like friends; never like a transaction. At closing, I mentioned to the group, which was like a surgical team that frequently work together, that I found it unfair that buyers had to sign hundreds of documents without truly comprehending what each document entailed. David from Supreme Lending said if you wanted, we would give you 24 or 48 hours to read the documents and I chuckled thinking even if I read it would I truly understand the loaded language, acronyms, policies, procedures, potential hazards, and how it applied today and 30 years from today. Probably not. He then said, but truthfully, that is why you work with trusted people, because of the overwhelming amount of documentation needed. Trust. A word used by many, but practiced by few. I could trust our group. Sitting at the closing table, I chitchatted with the sellers, who were beautiful people, when I mentioned that Bill had helped Lindsay’s mom and dad buy their homes and we trusted them with the process. The seller’s agent chuckled and said, “I bet that is music to Bill’s ears.” I did not chuckle. In fact, I find statements that make me feel like a dollar bill in another’s wallet extremely offensive. It reminded me that businesses still miss the mark by creating Key performance Indicators (KPI) that focus on frequency or transaction number. Chet Holmes an amazing sales machine and author of The Ultimate Sales Machine writes extensively on both aspects of sales, the transaction and the relationship. Easily misunderstand, is the fine line between transaction and relationship. What is certain is the buy, cry, or die mentality, rarely magnifies relationship. In a flattening world, with player’s half a world away competing for the same clients in a B2C transaction, the transactional mindset is dead. Relationship is alive and thriving. I hope, as the population becomes increasingly informed, transactional salespersons become extinct. The world will be a better place for it.
My wife was set to have our first child in 2014 and we knew something was wrong. Several times, we called her OB/GYN and were told there was nothing to worry about that she was experiencing common pregnancy symptoms. Really, you got all that over the phone? So you do not want me to bring her in? Several times my wife nearly blacked out, had excruciating pain, spotting, and other symptoms not typical to the pregnancies in her family. We got in our car several weeks into the pregnancy and drove to the clinic, when I called them on the phone and said we are on our way, something seems wrong, they shooed us off and said everything is normal. I turned around and headed back home against our judgment. A few days earlier we had seen HCGs of 40,000, and our next trip to the emergency room showed HCG levels at 100k+ and still no image of the implanted zygote in the uterus! We knew her HCGs because everywhere we went, during the ectopic pregnancy, they took blood samples, but no one was scheduling an ultrasound. The third trip -thanks to a TV ultrasound- by our repeated request, revealed severe abdominal bleeding and required an emergency surgery, salpingectomy. Her Ex-OB/GYN was clearly operating from a transactional mindset. The OB/GYN had an outdated ultrasound machine, a staff that treated my wife like an overly concerned first-time mom, and frankly never dug into the relationship to find out our real needs. Never once did this OB/GYN offer an Ultrasound. I could go on and on, why, we know what the problem is. A transactional mindset.
Caveat Emptor. At any moment as a prospect or buyer, you feel like a transaction, listen to your internal red-flag alarm system. I bet it will be chirping like a smoke alarm. End that relationship and find a new teammate. When possible, use the recommendation of friends and family. When a business or representative interacts as an “agent of transaction”, run, run, run. Profitability in business and in life is not a competitive advantage. When individuals focus on profits, they are not worried about the relationship. Through relationship come profits. Cathy Truett founder of Chick Fil A reminded us “it is more important to focus on principles than on profit.” If we focus on our principles, our competitive advantages, our product, and our customers profit will follow. Profits are downstream. Professionals operating under a transactional mindset have moved profit upstream. Do not focus on the profit; focus on relationship. Yes, operate with financial intelligence, use software, run ratios, have a CPA, create benchmarks, but keep profitability downstream. Focus on relationship and profits will follow. For more business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me or Harper’s Hut Blog.