In previous blogs, we  have examined Holden’s Four Stages of Sales Proficiency, Holden’s Model Intent and Holden’s Model Focus. The third dimension within Holden’s Four Stages of Sales Proficiency is Holden’s Model Relationship

Holden's Model - Relationship

Holden’s Model – Relationship

For the Stage I Emerging Seller, the word relationship is a misnomer. |The tendency is to focus on product renders interaction with the customer casual at best. Stage II Solution Sellers start to build trust, because they recognize that they are selling solutions, which inherently contain intangible components such as service, support, and responsiveness to problems. As such, it is imperative that the customer trust the seller and that the seller propose a viable solution.

Stage III marks the beginning of a real relationship—one that can weather a storm if something goes wrong. It is based on mutualism that is based on common trust, respect, and value. Stage III Compete Sellers build a bridge between supplier and customer based on what both consider valuable. And this doesn’t refer just to business and product value; it also accounts for political value, where key individuals can advance their agendas in balance with the business value each company receives.

The vulnerability of even a Stage III Compete Seller—he or she can be quickly replaced.

The fate of Stage IV Customer Advisors is less tenuous, because the relationship is symbiotic at this point; the two companies depend on each other and often share a common set of values that produce a degree of cultural fit. Since it would be difficult and costly for either to disengage, the organizations are bridged together at the highest possible level. An example of this has been the strong Microsoft and Intel “Wintel” relationship that for many years has defined the personal computing industry.

Regarding relationship, look at Holden’s Model – Relationship figure. At what stage would you objectively place yourself? Where would you place your sales organization?

Source: The New Power Base Selling: Master The Politics, Create Unexpected Value and Higher Margins, and Outsmart the Competition by Ryan Kubacki, Jim Holden