Here’s an interesting Forbes article about changing the focus away from SELLING, to BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS.

It’s a concept that we use heavily in Small Fish, and it’s well adapted to our situation.  When people work with a business coach, they’re doing that because they fully trust that the coach has their interests above all else.  It’s not because they’ve been “sold” in the traditional sense.

I observe, though, that there’s some products which are sold with a high element of trust, and others are more transactional in nature.  So when I go out for a frozen yogurt, it’s not because I trust one shop more than another.  It’s because I like their product, I’m aware they exist, and the location is convenient.

OK, maybe there is a bit of relationship-building in that … how do I know I like their product unless I’ve gone there several times?

But let’s think about this a bit more.  I frequent a lot of coffee shops in the area, as that’s where most of my meetings are.  There are a few where I feel like I have an actual relationship with the owner or barista, so I’ll tend to send more business their way.  So even though buying a coffee for me is largely just buying coffee, what makes them a preferred “third location” for me is that relationship.

So maybe those Forbes guys aren’t so off base after all!