Process, Technique or Relationships?

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Which is more important for sales success:
1) A well developed and repeatable sales process
2) Effective techniques to use with prospects and customers, or
3) Relationships with prospects and customers

You hear this kind of question in group discussions and blog posts. Maybe you even had this conversation with managers and colleagues in your sales organization.

Sometimes, it is not posed as a question, but rather a declaration.

“Relationships are the key to sales”

“This technique can help you be the king of sales”

Or, in the negative – such as “sales process is bunk – if the customer doesn’t know about it then what does it matter”


So  – what do you think – which is the right answer?

Sorry, but like many “choose one” questions, the question missed the mark entirely.

There is a better way to think about these three critical elements of sales success. Try this on for size:

You should start with a process. If you do sales now, think about the steps you take to get from no customer to customer. If you are starting with a blank canvas and have no history – that’s fine. Imagine the process. If you pay attention as you execute, experience will show you how to improve it over time.

Once you have a process mapped out, you need to make sure you have the techniques to use along the way as you work through each step of the process.

And finally, process and techniques are no good in a vacuum – you will need to engage prospects and customers and see how your process and techniques resonate. As you engage and develop relationships, this will become evident (as opposed to executing with your eyes and ears closed – which will neither help build relationships or refine your process).

Graphically, it might look something like this


This cycle is iterative. When you engage prospects and customers, you will foster relationships while getting feedback that should inform your process and technique choices, and the wheel goes around and around.

The three parts feed each other, and using them all in an iterative way will keep you operating both systematically and effectively, and will help you improve consistently over time.

So which is best?

It’s a dumb question. It’s like asking which organ you prefer – your brain, your heart or your lungs? Do you really think your best strategy is to choose just one?

Good luck with that!

I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure that you need all three of these vital organs working and working together to keep you alive. Think of  process, techniques and relationships the same way if you want your sales efforts to thrive and grow.


If you’re a CEO or sales leader in search of improved sales team performance, feel free to contact me and let’s discuss how our programs including The Sales Team Success Formula™ and The Momentum Selling System® can help you establish improved performance and transparency across your entire sales team plus a sales culture of growth and success.

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